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"MY NOVEL, 

§g IJisisfratns (Taston : 



OE, 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISII LIFE, 

BY 

THE EIGHT HON. LORD LYTTON. 



'Neqne enim notare singnlos mens est mihi, 
Terum ipsam vitam et mores hominum ostendere." 

Ph-£DBU£>. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOL. I. 



a 0cfo ffiiittfon. 



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KEW YORK: 416, BKOOilE S1P.EET. 



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TO THE 

EIGHT HON. SIR HENRY LYTTON BULTCER, G.C.B. 

&0. &0. &0. 

THIS WORK, 

DESIGNED TO ILLUSTRATE THE VARIETIES OF PUBLIC 
AND PRIVATE LIFE, 

PBOUD 10 UNITE A TRIBUTE TO SEBVICES EEC0GNI9ED «JY ENGLAND, 
WITH A MEMORIAL 07 BBOTHEBLY AFFECTION. 



MY NOVEL. 

BOOK I. 

INITIAL CHAPTER. 

SHOWING HOW MY NOVEL CAME TO BE WRITTEN. 

IS'cene, The Hall in Uncle Roland's Tower — Time, Night— Season, 
9 inter. 

Me. Caxton is seated before a great geographical globe, which he 
.-s turning round leisurely, and " for bis own recreation," as, accord- 
ing toSir Thomas Browne, a philosopher should turn round the orb 
of which that globe professes to be the representation and effigies. 
My mother having just adorned a very small frock with a very smart 
braid, is holding it out at arm's-length, the more to admire the effect. 
Blanche, though leaning both hands on my mother's shoulder, is not 
regarding the frock, but glances towards Pisistbatus, who, seated 
near the fire, leaning back in the chair, and his head bent over his 
breast, seems in a very bad humour. Uncle Roland, who has become 
a great novel reader, is deep in the mysteries of some fascinating 
third volume. Mr. Squills has brought The Times in his pocket for 
his own special profit and delectation, and is now bending his brows 
over "the state of the money market," in great doubt whether rail- 
way shares can possibly fall lower; for Mr. Squills, happy man ! has 
large savings, and does not know what to do with his money, or, to 
use his own phrase, " how to buy in at the cheapest, in order to sell 
out at the dearest." 

Me. Caxton (musingly). — It must have been a monstrous long 
'ourney. It would be somewhere hereabouts, I take it, that they 
would split off. 

My Mother (mechanically, and in order to show Austin that she 
paid him the compliment of attending to his remarks). — Who split 
off, my dear ? 

" Bless me, Kitty," said my father, in great admiration, "you ask 
just the question which it is most difficult to answer. An ingenious 
speculator on races contends that the Danes, whose descendants 
make the chief part of our northern population (and indeed, if his 
hypothesis could be correct, we must suppose all the ancient wor- 
shippers of Odin), are of the same origin as the Etrurians. And why, 
Kitty— I just ask you, why?" 

My mother shook her head thoughtfully, and turned the frock to 
the other side of the light. 

" Because, forsooth," cried my father, exploding—" because the 

VOL. I. B 



2 MY NOVEL; OR, 

Etrurians called their gods 'the iEsar,' and the Scandinavians called 
theirs the iEsir, or Aser ! And where do you think this adventurou.-. 
scholar puts their cradle?" 

"Cradle!" said my mother, dreamily — "it must be in the 
nursery." 

Mr. Caxtox. — Exactly — in the nursery of tne human race — just 
here [and my father pointed to the globe], bounded, you see, by 
the river Halys, and in that region which, taking its name from Ees, 
or As (a word, designating light or fire), has been immemorially called 
Asia. Now, Kitty, from Ees or As our ethnological speculator would 
derive not only Asia, the land, but iEsar, or Aser, its primitive 
inhabitants. Blence he supposes the origin of the Etrurians and 
the Scandinavians. But if we give him so much, we must give him 
more, and deduce from the same origin the Es oi the Gelt and the 
Ized of the Persian, and — what will be of more use to him, I dare 
say, poor man, than all the rest put together — the Ms of the Romans 
that is, the God of Copper-Money — a very powerful household gou 
he is to this day ! 

My mother looked musingly at her frock, as if she were taking my 
father's proposition into serious consideration. 

" So perhaps," resumed my father, " and not unconformably with 
sacred records, from one great parent horde came all those various 
tribes, carrying with them the name of their beloved Asia ; and, whe- 
ther they wandered north, south, or west, exalting their own emphatic 
designation of ' Children of the Land of Light' into the title of gods. 
And to think" (added Mr. Caxton pathetically, gazing upon that 
speck in the globe on which his forefinger rested), — " to think how 
little they changed for the better wheu they got to the Don, or en- 
tangled their rafts amidst the icebergs of the Baltic — so comfortably 
off as they were here, if they could but have staved quiet." 

" And why the deuce could not they?" asked Mr. Squills. 

" Pressure of population, and not enough to live upon, I suppose," 
said my father. 

Pisistratus (sulkily).— More probably they did away with the 
Corn Laws, sir. 

"Papa!" quoth my father; "that throws a new light on the 
subject." 

Pisistratus (full of his grievances, and not caring three straws 
about the origin of the Scandinavians). — I know that if we are to 
lose £500 every year on a farm which we hold rent-free, and which 
the best judges allow to be a perfect model for the whole country, 
we had better make haste and turn iEsir, or Aser, or whatever you 
call them, and fix a settlement on the property of _ other nations 
— otherwise, I suspect, our probable settlement will be on the 
parish. 

Mr. Squills (who, it must be remembered, is an enthusiastic Free- 
trader). — You have only got to put more capital on the land. 

Pisistratus. — Well, Mr. Squills, as you think so well of that 
investment, put your capital on it. I promise that you shall have 
every shilling of profit. 

Mb. Squills (hastily retreating behind The Times). — I don't think 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIl'E. 5 

the Great Western can fall any lower ; though it is hazardous — I can 
but venture a few hundreds 

Pisistratus. — On our land, Squills ? Thank you. 

Mr. Squills. — No, no — anything but that — on the Great 
Western. 

Pisistratus relaxes into gloom. Blanche steals up coaxingly, and 
gets snubbed for her pains. 

A pause. 

Mb. Caxton. — There are two golden rules of life ; one relates to 
the mind, and the other to the pockets. The first is — If our thoughts 
get into a low, nervous, aguish condition, we should make them 
change the air; the second is comprised in the proverb, "It is good 
to have two strings to one's bow." Therefore, Pisistratus, I tell you 
what you must do — Write a Book ! 

Pisistratus. — Write a Book ! — Against the abolition of the Corn 
Laws ? Faith, sir, the mischief's done. It takes a much better pen 
than mine to write down an Act of Parliament. 

Mu. Caxton. — I only said " Write a book." All the rest is the 
addition of your own headlong imagination. 

Pisistratus (with the recollection of The Great Book rising 
before him). — Indeed, sir, I should think that that would just 
finish us ! 

Mr. Caxton (not seeming to heed the interruption). — A book 
that will sell. A book that will prop up the fall of prices ! A book 
that will distract your mind from its dismal apprehensions, and 
restore your affection to your species, and your hopes in the ultimate 
triumph of sound principles — by the sight of a favourable balance at 
the end of the yearly accounts. It is astonishing what a difference 
that little circumstance makes in our views of things in general. I 
remember when the bank in wluch Squills had incautiously left 
£1,000 broke, one remarkably healthy year, that he became a great 
alarmist, and said that the country was on the verge of ruin; 
whereas you see now, when, thanks to a long succession of sickly 
seasons, he has a surplus capital to risk in the Great Western, 
he is firmly persuaded that England was never in so prosperous a 
condition. 

Mr. Squills (rather sullenly).- — Pooh, pooh. 

Mr. Caxton. — Write a book, my son — write a book. Need I tell 
you that Money or Moneta, according to Hyginus, was the mother of 
the Muses ? Write a book. 

Blanche and my Mother (in full chorus). — yes, Sisty — a 
book — a book ! you must write a book. 

" I am sure," quoth my "Uncle Roland, slamming down the volume 
he had just concluded, " he could write a devilish deal better book 
than this ; and how I come to read such trash, night after night, is 
more than I could possibly explain to the satisfaction of any intelli- 
gent jury, if I were put into a witness-box, and examined in the 
mildest manner by my own counsel." 

Mr. Caxton. — You see that Roland tells us exactly what sort of 
ft book it shall be. 
Pisistratus. — Trash, sir? 

B 2 



<S MY NOVEL; OK, 

Mb.. Caxton.— No — that is, not necessarily trash — but a book of 
that class which, whether trash or not, people can't help reading. 
Novels have become a necessity of the age : you must write a 
novel. 

Pisistbattjs (flattered, but dubious). — A novel'. But every 
subject on which novels can be written is pre-occupied. There are 
novels of low life, novels of high life, military novels, naval novels, 
novels philosophical, novels religious, novels historical, novels 
descriptive of India, the Colonies, Ancient Rome, and the Egyp- 
tian Pyramids. From what bird, wild eagle, or bam-door fowl, 
can I 

" Pluck one unwearied plume from Fancy's wing ? " 

Mr. Caxton (after a little thought). — You remember the story 
which Trevanion (I beg his pardon, Lord Ulswater) told us the other 
night. That gives you something of the romance of real life for youv 
plot— puts you chiefly among scenes with which you are familiar, and 
furnishes you with characters which have been very sparingly dealt 
with since the time of Fielding. You can give us the Country Squire, 
as you remember him in your youth ; it is a specimen of a race worth 
preserving — the old idiosyncrasies of which are rapidly dying off, as 
the railways bring Norfolk and Yorkshire within easy reach of the 
manners of London. You can give us the old-fashioned Parson, as in 
all essentials he may yet be found ; but before, you had to drag him 
out of the great Tractarian bog ; and, for the rest I really think that 
while, as I am told, many popular writers are doing their best, espe- 
cially in France, and perhaps a little in England, to set class against 
class, and pick up every stone in the kennel to shy at a gentleman 
with a good coat on his back, something useful might be done by a 
few good-humoured sketches of those innocent criminals a little 
better off than their neighbours, whom, however we dislike them, I 
take it for granted we shall have to endure, in one shape or another, 
as long as civilisation exists ; and they seem, on the whole, as good 
in their present shape as we are likely to get, shake the dice-box ot 
society how we will. 

Pisistratus. — Very well said, sir; but this rural country, 
gentleman life is not so new as you think. There's Washington 
Irving 

Mn. Caxton. — Charming ; but rather the manners of the last 
century than this. You may as well cite Addison and Sir Roger de 
Coverley. 

Pisistratus. — Tremaine and Be Vere. 

Mk. Caxton. — Nothing can be more graceful, nor more unlike 
what I mean. The Pales and Terminus I wish you to put up 
in the fields are familiar images, that you may cut out of an oak- 
tree — not beautiful marble statues, on porphyry pedestals, twenty feet 
nigh. 

Pisistratus. — Miss Austin; Mrs. Gore in her masterpiece of 
Mrs. Armytage ; Mrs. Marsh, too; and then (for Scotch maimers) 
Miss Ferner ! 

Mr, Caxton (growing cross).— Oh, if you cannot treat on bucoiics 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 6 

6ut what you must hear some Virgil or other cry " Stop thief," you 
deserve to be tossed by one of your own " short-homs." [Still more 
contemptuously] — I am sure I don't know why we spend so much 
money on sending our sons to school to learn Latin, when that 
Anachronism of yours, Mrs. Caxton, can't even construe a line and a 
aali of Phsedrus. Phaedrus, Mrs. Caxton — a book which is hi Latin 
tvhat Goody Two-Shoes is in the vernacular ! 

Mrs. Caxton (alarmed and indignant). — Pie ! Austin! I am sure 
you can construe Phaedrus, dear. 

Pisistratus prudently preserves silence. 

Mb. Caxton. — I'll try him — 

" Sua euique quum sit auimi cogitatio 
Colorque propius." 

What does that mean ? 

Pisistkatus (smiling). — That every man has some colouring 
matter within him, to give his own tinge to 

" His own novel," interrupted my father. " Content us peragis ! " 

During the latter part of this dialogue, Blanche had sewn 
together three quires of the best Bath paper, and she now placed 
them on a little table before me, with her own ink-stand and steel 
pen. 

My mother put her finger to her lip, and said, "Hush !" my father 
returned to the cradle of the iEsar ; Captain Roland leant his cheek 
on his hand, and gazed abstractedly on the fire ; Mr. Squills fell into 
a placid doze ; and, after three sighs that would have melted a heart 
of stone, I rushed into — My Novel. 



CHAPTER H. 

" Theee has never been occasion to use them since I've been in 
the parish," said Parson Dale. 

" What does that prove ?" quoth the Squire, sharply, and looking 
the Parson full in the face. 

"Prove !" repeated Mr. Dale, with a smile of benign, yet too con- 
scious superiority — " What does experience prove ?" 

"That your forefathers were great blockheads, and that their 
descendant is not a whit the wiser." 

" Squire," replied the Parson, " although that is a melancholy con- 
elusion, yet if you mean it to apply universally, and not to the family 
of the Dales in particular, it is not one which my candour as^a 
reasoner, and my humility as a mortal, will permit me to challenge." 

" I defy you," said Mr. Hazeldean, triumphantly. " But to stick 
jo the subject (which it is monstrous hard to do when one talks with 
a parson), I only just ask you to look yonder, and tell me, on your 
conscience — I don't even say as a parson, but asa pansmoner 
whether you ever saw a more disreputable spectacle ?" ; 

V'.T|,ile lie spoke, the Squire, leaning heavily on the Parson s lef! 



5 ur jnovjii., ob 

shoulder, extended his cane in a line parallel with the right eye of 
that lisputatious ecclesiastic, so that Tie might guide the organ of 
sight to the object he had thus unflatteringly described. 

" I confess," said the Parson, " that, regarded by the eye of the 
senses, it is a thing that in its best day had small pretensions to 
beauty, and is not elevated into the picturesque even by neglect 
and decay. But, my friend, regarded by the eye of the inner man — 
of the rural philosopher and parochial legislator — I say it is by neglect 
and decay that it is rendered a very pleasing feature in what I may 
call ' the moral topography of a parish. 3 " 

The Squire looked at the Parson as if he could have beaten him ; 
and, indeed, regarding the object in dispute not only with the eye of 
the outer man, b"it the eye of law and order — the eye of a country 
gentleman and a justice of the peace, the spectacle was scandalously 
disreputable. It was moss-grown ; it was worm-eaten ; It was broken 
right in the middle ; through its four socketless eyes, neighboured by 
the nettle, peered the tliistle :— the thistle ! a forest of thistles ! — 
and, to complete the degradation of the whole, those thistles had 
attracted the donkey of an itinerant tinker ; and the irreverent 
animal was in the very act of taking his luncheon out of the eyes and 
jaws of— The Parish Stocks. 

The Squire looked as if he could have beaten the Parson ; but, as 
he was not without some slight command of temper, and a substitute 
was luckily at hand, he gulphed down his resentment, and made a 
rush — at the donkey ! 

Now the donkey was hampered by a rope to its fore-feet, to the 
which was attached a billet of wood, called technically " a clog," so 
that it bad no fair chance of escape from the assault its sacrilegious 
luncheon had justly provoked. But, the ass turning round with 
unusual nimbleness at the first stroke of the cane, the Squire caught 
his foot in the rope, and went head over heels among the thistles. 
The donkey gravely bent down, and thrice smelt or sniffed its pros- 
trate foe ; then, having convinced itself that it had nothing farther 
to apprehend for the present, and very willing to make the best of 
the reprieve, according to the poetical admonition, " Gather your 
rosebuds while you may," it cropped a thistle in full bloom close to 
the ear of the Squire ; — so close, indeed, that the Parson thought the 
ear was gone ; and with the more probability, inasmuch as the Squire, 
feeling the warm breath of the creature, bellowed out with all the 
force of lungs accustomed to give a View-hallo ! 

"Bless me, is it gone?" said the Parson, thrusting his person 
between the ass and the Squire. 

" Zounds and the devil !" cried the Squire, rubbing himself as he 
rose to his feet. 

" Hush," said the Parson, gently. " What a horrible oath !" 

" Horrible oath ! If you had my nankeens on," said the Squire 
still rubbing himself, " and had fallen into a thicket of thistles, with' 
a donkey's teeth within an inch of your ear ! " 

" It is not gone, then?" interrupted the Parson. 

"No— that is, I think not," said the Squire, dubiously: and ha 
clapped his hand to the organ in question. 'No ! it is not gone '" 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFiS. 7 

"Thank Heaven !" said the good clergyman, kindly. 

" Hum,'' growled the Squire, who was now once more engaged in 
rubbing tdmself. " Thank heaven indeed, when I am as full of thorns 
as a porcupine ! I should just like to know what use thistles are in 
the wond." 

" For donkeys to eat, if you will let them, Squire," answered the 
Parson. 

" Ugh, you beast ! " cried Mr. Hazeldean, all his wrath re-awakened, 
whether by reference to the donkey species, or his inability to reply 
to the Parson, or perhaps by some sudden prick too sharp for 
humanity — especially humanity in nankeens — to endure wi+hout 
kicking; " Ugh, you beast ! " he exclaimed, shaking his cane at the 
donkey, which, at the interposition of the Parson, had respectfully 
recoiled a few paces, and now stood switching its thin tail, and trying 
vainly to lift one of its fore-legs — for the flies teased it. 

" Poor thing ! " said the Parson, pityingly. " See, it has a raw 
place on the shoulder, and the flies have found out the sore." 

" I am devilish glad to hear it," said the Squire, vindictively. 

"Pie, fie!" 

" It is very well to say ' Pie, fie.' It was not you who fell among 
the thistles. What's the man about now, I wonder ?" 

The Parson had walked towards a chestnut-tree that stood on the 
village green ; he broke off a bough — returned to the donkey — whisked 
away the flies, and then tenderly placed the broad leaves ove* the 
sore, as a protection from the swarms. The donkey turned rounCL 'is 
head and looked at him with mild wonder. 

" I would bet a shilling," said the Parson, softly, " that this is tht> 
first act of kindness thou hast met with this many a day. And slight 
enough it is, Heaven knows." 

With that the Parson put his hand into his pocket, and drew out 
an apple. It was a fine, large, rose-cheeked apple — one of the last 
winter's store, from the celebrated tree in the parsonage garden ; and 
he was taking it as a present to a little boy m the village, who had 
notably distinguished himself in the Sunday-school. " Nay, in 
common justice, Lenny Pairfield should have the preference," mut- 
tered the Parson. The ass pricked up one of its ears, and advanced 
its head timidly. " But Lenny Pairfield would be as much pleased 
with twopence ; and what could twopence do to thee ? " The ass's 
nose now touched the apple. " Take it, in the name of Charity," 
quoth the Parson ; " Justice is accustomed to be served last :" and 
the ass took the apple. " How had you the heart ? " said the Parson, 
pointing to the Squire's cane. 

The ass stopped munching, and looked askant at the Squire. 

" Pooh ! eat on ; he'll not beat thee now." 

"No," said the Squire, apologetically. "But, after all, he is not 
an Ass of the Parish ; he is a vagrant, and lie ought to be pounded. 
But the pound is in as bad a state as the stocks, thanks to your new- 
fashioned doctrines." 

" New-fashioned ! " cried the Parson, almost indignantly, for he had 
a great disdain of new fashions — " They are as old as Christianity ; nay, 
as old as Paradise, which, you will observe, is derived from a Greek or 



8 Z-1Y xoxzl; or, 

rather a Persian word, and means something more than ' garden,' cor- 
responding," pursued the Parson, rather pedantically, " with the Latin 
zhariuni, viz., grove or park full of innocent dumb creatures. Depend 
on it, donkeys were allowed to eat thistles there." 

" Very possibly," said the Squire, drily. " But Hazeldean, though 
a very pretty village, i a not Paradise. The stocks shall be mended 
to-morrow — ay, and the pound too, — and the next donkey found tres 
passing shall go into it, as sure as my name 's Hazeldean." 

" Then," said the Parson, gravely, " I can only hope that the next 
parish may not follow your example ; or that you and I may never be 
caught straying." 



CHAPTER III. 

Parson Dale and Squire Hazeldean parted company; the latter to 
inspect his sheep, the former to visit some of his parishioners, in- 
cluding Lenny Pairfield, whom the donkey had defrauded of his 
apple. 

Lenny Fairfield was sure to be in the way, for his mother rented a 
few acres of grass-land from the Squire, and it was now hay-t ime. 
And Leonard, commonly called Lenny, was an only son, and his 
mother a widow. The cottage stood apart, and somewhat remote, in 
one of the many nooks of the long, green, village lane. And a tho- 
roughly English cottage it was — three centuries old at least ; with 
walls of rubble let into oak frames, and duly whitewashed every 
summer, a thatched roof, small panes of glass, an old doorway raised 
from the ground by two steps. There was about this little dwelling 
all the homely rustic elegance which peasant life admits of ; a honey- 
suckle was trained over the door • a few flower-pots were placed on 
the window-sills ; the small plot of ground in front of the house was 
kept with great neatness, and even taste ; some large rough stones on 
either side the little path having been formed into a sort of rockwork, 
with creepers that were now in flower ; and the potato-ground was 
screened from the eve by sweet-peas and lupine. Simple elegance, all 
this, it is true ; but how well it speaks for peasant and landlord, when 
you see that the peasant is fond of his home, and has some spare time 
and heart to bestow upon mere embellishment. Such a peasant is 
sure to be a bad customer to the alehouse, and a safe neighbour to the 
Squire's preserves. All honour and praise to him, except a small tax 
upon both, which is due to the landlord ! 

Such sights were as pleasant to the Parson as the most beautiful 
landscapes of Italy can be to the dilettante. He paused a moment at 
the wicket to look around hhn, and distended Ins nostrils voluptuously 
to inhale the smell of the sweet-peas, mixed with that of the new- 
mown hay in the fields behind, which a slight breeze bore to hhn. 
He then moved on, carefully scraped his shoes, clean and well-polished 
as they were— for Mr. Dale was rather a beau hi his own clerical way, 
—on the scraper without the door, and lifted the latch. 



\AUIET1ES IN' ENGLISH EIEE. <J 

Your virtuoso looks with artistical delight on the figure of some 
nymph painted on an Etruscan vase, engaged in pouring out the juice 
of the grape from her classic urn And the Parson felt as harmless 
if not as elegant a pleasure in contemplating Widow Fairfield brim- 
ming high a glittering can, which she designed for the refreshment of 
the thirsty haymakers. 

Mrs. Fairfield was a middle-aged, tidy woman, with that alert pre- 
cision of movement which seems to come from an active, orderly mind ; 
and as she now turned her head briskly at the sound of the Parson's 
footstep, she showed a countenance prepossessing, though not hand- 
some—a countenance from which a pleasant, hearty smile, breaking 
forth at that moment, effaced some lines that in repose spoke " of 
sorrows, but of sorrows past ; " and her cheek, paler than is common 
to the complexions even of the fair sex, when born and bred amidst a 
rural population, might have favoured the guess that the earlier part 
of her lite had been spent in the languid air and " witliin-doors" occu- 
pations of a town. 

" Never mind me," said the Parson, as Mrs. Pah-field dropped her 
quick curtsey, and smoothed her apron ; " if you are going into the 
hayfield, I will go with you ; I have something to say to Lenny — an 
excellent boy." 

Widow. — Well, sir, and you are kind to say it ; but so he is. 

Parson. — He reads uncommonly well, he writes tolerably ; he is 
the best lad in the whole school at his Catechism and in the Bible 
lessons ; and I assure you, when I see his face at church, looking up 
so attentively, I fancy that I shall read my sermon all the better for 
such a listener ! 

Widow (wiping her eyes with the corner of her apron). — 'Deed, 
sir, when my poor Mark died, I never thought I could have lived on 
as I have done. But that boy is so kind and good, that when I look 
at him sitting there in dear Mark's chair, and remember how Mark 
loved him, and all he used to say to me about him, I feel somehow or 
other as if my goodman smiled on me, and would rather I was not 
with hhn yet, till the lad had grown up, and did not want me any 
more. 

Parson (looking away, and after a pause). — You never hear any- 
thing of the old folks at Lansmere ? 

" 'Deed, sir, sin' poor Mark died, they han't noticed me nor the boy ; 
bat," added the Widow, with all a peasant's pride, " it in't that I wants 
their money ; only it's hard to feel strange-like to one's own father 
and mother ! " 

Parson. — You must excuse them. Your father, Mr. Avcnel, wa-; 
never quite the same man after that sad event which — but you are 
weeping, my friend ; pardon me. Your mother is a little proud ; but 
so are you, though in another way. 

Widow. — I proud ! Lord love ye, sir, I have not a bit o' pride 
in me ! and that's the reason they always looked down on me. 

Parson. — Your parents must be well off; and I shall apply to 
them in a year or two on behalf of Lenny, for they promised me to 
provide for him when he grew up, as they ought. 

Widow (with flashing eyes). — I am sure, sir, I hope you wiJ do 



10 sir XOVEL; OK, 

no such thing ; for I would not have Lenny beholden to them as ha* 
never given him a kind word sin' he was born ! 

The Parson smiled gravely, and shook his head at poor Mrs. Fair- 
field's basty confutation of her own self-acquittal from the charge of 
pride ; but he saw that it was not the time or moment for effectual 
peace-making in the most irritable of all rancours, viz., that nourished 
against one's nearest relations. He therefore dropped the subject, 
and said : — " Well, time enough to think of Lenny's future prospects; 
meanwhile we are forgetting the haymakers. Come." 

The widow opened the back door, which led across a little apple 
orchard into the fields. 

Parson. — You have a pleasant place here ; and I see that my 
friend Lenny should be in no want of apples. I had brought him 
one, but I have given it away on the road. 

Widow. — Oh, sir, it is not the deed — it is the will ; as I felt when 
the Squire, God bless him ! took two pounds off the rent the year he 
— that is, Mark — died. 

Pabson. — If Lenny continues to be such a help to you, it will not 
be long before the Squire may put the two pounds on again. 

"Yes, sir," said the Widow, simply; "I hope he will." 

" Silly woman ! " muttered the Parson. " That's not exactly what 
the schoolmistress would have said. You don't read nor write, Mrs. 
Fairfield ; yet you express yourself with great propriety." 

" You know Mark was a schollard, sir, like my poor, poor sister ; 
and though I was a sad stupid girl afore I married, I tried to take 
after him when we came together." 



CHAPTER IV. 

They were now in the hayfield ; and a boy of about sixteen, but, 
like most country lads, to appearance much younger than he was, 
looked up from his rake, with lively blue eyes beaming forth under a 
profusion of brown curly hah - . 

Leonard Fairfield was indeed a very handsome boy — not so stout nor 
so ruddy as one would choose for the ideal of rustic beauty ; nor yet so 
delicate in limb and keen in expression as are those children of cities, 
in whom the mind is cultivated at the expense of the body ; but still 
he had the health of the country in his cheeks, and was not without 
the grace of the city in his compact figure and easy movements. 
There was in his physiognomy something interesting from its peculiar 
character of innocence and simplicity. You could see that he had 
been brought up by a woman, and much apart from familiar contact 
with other children ; and such intelligence as was yet developed in 
him was not ripened by the jokes and cuffs of his coevals, but fostered 
by decorous lecturings from his elders, and good-little-boy maxims in 
good-little-boy books. 

Pabson. — Come hither, Lenny. You know the benefit of school, 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. l\ 

1 see : it can teach you nothing better than to be a support to your 
mother. 

_ Lenny (looking down sheepishly, and with a heightened glow over 
his face). — Please, sir, that may come one of these days. 

Parson. — That's right, Lenny. Let me see ! why, you must be 
nearly a man. How old are you ? 

Lenny looks up inquiringly at his mother. 

Parson. — You ought to know, Lenny ; speak for yourself. Hold 
your tongue, Mrs. Fairfield. 

Lenny (twirling his hat, and in great perplexity). — Well, and 
there is Plop, neighbour Button's old sheep-dog. He be very old 
now. 

Pakson. — I am not_ asking Plop's age, but your own. 

Lenny. — 'Deed, sir, I have heard say as how Plop and I were 
pups together. That is, I — I 

Por the Parson is laughing, and so is Mrs. Pairfleld ; and the hay- 
makers, who have stood still to listen, are laughing too. And poor 
Lenny has quite lost his head, and looks as if he would like to cry. 

Parson (patting the curly locks, encouragingly). — X ever mind 
it is not so badly answered, after all. And how old is Plop ? 

Lenny. — Why, he must be fifteen year and more. 

Pakson. — How old, then, are you ? 

Lenny (looking up, with a beam of intelligence). — Pifteen year 
and more. 

Widow sighs and nods her head. 

" That's wnat we call putting two and two together," said the 
Parson. " Or, in other words," and here he raised his eyes majesti- 
cally towards the haymakers — "in other words — thanks to his love 
for his book — simple as he stands here, Lenny Pairfield has shows 
himself capable of inductive ratiocination." 

At those words, delivered ore rotundo, the haymakers ceased laugh- 
ing ; for even in lay matters they held the Parson to be an oracle, and 
words so long must have a great deal in them. 

Lenny drew up his head proudly. 

" You are very fond of Plop, I suppose ?" 

'"Deed he is," said the Widow, "and of all poor dumb creatures." 

" Very good. Suppose, my lad, that you had a fine apple, and that 
you met a e rsaa who wanted it more than you, what would you do 
with it?" 

" Please you, sir, . would give him half of it." 

The Parson's face fell.—" Not the whole, Lenny ?" 

Lenny considered. — " If he was a friend, sir, he would not like me 
to give him all?" 

"Upon my word, Master Leonard, you speak so well that I must 
e'en tell the truth. I brought you an apple, as a prize for good con- 
duct in school ; but I met by the way a poor donkey, and some one 
beat him for eating a thistle, so I thought I would make it up by 
giving him the apple. Ought I only to have given him the half?" 

Lenny's innocent face became all smile ; his interest was aroused. 
— " And did the donkey like the apple ?" 

" Very much," said the Parson, tumbling in his pocket, but think- 



12 MY NOVEL; OR. 

ing of Leonard Fairfield's years and understanding ; and moreover, 
observing, in the pride of his heart, that there were many spectators 
to his deed, he thought the meditated twopence not sufficient, and he 
generously produced a silver sixpence 

" There, my man, that -nail pay for the half-apple which you would 
have kept for yourself." The Parson again patted the curly locks, 
and, alter a hearty word or two with the other haymakers, and a 
friendly "Good-day" to ilrs. Fairfield, struck into a path that led 
towards his own glebe. 

He had just crossed the stile, when he heard hasty but timorous 
feet behind him. He turned, and saw his friend Lenny. 

Lexxy (half-crying, and holding out the sixpence). — Indeed, sir, 
I would rather not. I would have given all to the Neddy. 

Paiisox. — Why, then, my man, you have a still greater right to 
the sixpence. 

LuxxY. — No, sir- 'cause you only gave it to make up for the 
half-apple. And if I had given the whole, as I ought to have done, 
why I should have had no right to the sixpence. Please, sir, don't be 
offended ; do take it back, will you ? 

The Parson hesitated. And the boy thrust the sixpence into his 
hand, as the ass had poked its nose there before in quest of the apple. 

"I see," said Parson Dale, soliloquising, "that if one don't give 
Justice the first place at the table, all the other Virtues cat up her 
share." 

Indeed, the case was perplexing. Charity, like a forward, impudent 
baggage as she is, always thrusting herself in the way, and taking 
other people's apples to make her own little pie, had defrauded Lenny 
of his due • and now Susceptibility, who looks like a shy, blush-faced, 
awkward Virtue in her teens — but who, nevertheless, is always 
engaged in picking the pockets of her sisters, tried to filch from him 
his lawful recompense. The case was perplexing; for the Parson 
held Susceptibility in great honour, despite her hypocritical tricks, 
and did not like to give her a slap in the face, whicn might frighten 
her away for ever. So Mr. Dale stood irresolute, glancing from the 
sixpence to Lenny, and from Lenny to the sixpence. 

" Buon giorno, Good-day to you," said a voice behind, in an accent 
slightly but unmistakeably foreign, and a strange-looking figure pre- 
sented itself at the stile. 

Imagine a tall and exceedingly meagre man, dressed in a rusty 
suit of black — the pantaloons tight at the calf and ankle, and there 
forming a loose gaiter over thick shoes, buckled high at the ir_step • 
— an old cloak, lined with red, was thrown over one shoulder, though' 
the day was sultry ; — a quaint, red, outlandish umbrella, with a carved 
brass handle, was thrust under one ami, though the sky was cloud- 
less;— a profusion of raven hair, in waving curls that seemed as fine 
as silk, escaped from the sides of a straw hat of prodigious brim • a 
complexion sallow and swarthy, and features which, though not 
without considerable beauty to the eye of the artist, were not only 
unlike what we fair, well-fed, neat-faced Engbshmen are wont to 
consider comely, but exceedingly like what we are. disposed to regard 
sa awful and Satanic — to wit, a long hooked nose, sunken cbeeks 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. ]3 

black eyes, whose piercing brilliancy took something wizard-like and 
mystical from the large spectacles through which they shone; a 
mouth round which played an ironical smile, and in which a physio- 
gnomist would have remarked singular shrewdness, and some 
closeness, complete the picture. Imagine this figure, grotesque, 
peregrinate, and to the eye of a peasant certainly diabolical ; then 
perch it on the stile in the midst of those green English fields, and 
in sight of that primitive English village ; there let it sit straddling, 
its long legs dangling down, a short German pipe emitting clouds 
from one comer of those sardonic lips, its dark eyes glaring through 
the spectacles full upon the Parson, yet askant upon Lenny Eairfield. 
Lenny Eairfield looked exceedingly frightened. 

" Upon my word, Dr. Biccabocca," s&id Ah. Dale, smiling, " you 
come in good time to solve a very nice question in casuistry ;" and 
herewith the Parson explained the case, and put the question — 
" Ought Lenny Eairfield to have the sixpence, or ought he not 'i" 

" Cospetto /" said the Doctor, "if the hen would but hold her 
tongue, nobody would know that she had laid an egg." 



CHAPTER V. 

"Granted," said the Parson; "but what follows? The saying 
is good, but I don't see the application." 

" A thousand pardons !" replied Dr. Biccabocca, with all the 
urbanity of an Italian; "but it seems to me that if you had given the 
sixpence_ to the fanciullo — that is, to this good little boy — without 
telling him the story about the donkey, you would never put him and 
yourself into this awkward dilemma." 

"But, my dear sir," whispered the Parson mildly, as he inclined 
his lips to the Doctor's ear, " I should then have lost the oppor- 
tunity of inculcating a moral lesson — you understand." 

Dr. Biccabocca shrugged his shoulders, restored his pipe to his 
mouth, and took a long whiff. It was a whiff eloquent, though 
cynical — a whiff peculiar to your philosophical smoker — a whiff that 
implied the most absolute, but the most placid incredulity as to the 
effect of the Parson's moral lesson. 

" Still you have not given us your decision," said the Parson, after 
a pause. 

The Doctor withdrew the pipe. "Cospetto!" said he — "He who 
scrubs the head of an ass wastes his soap." 

" If you scrubbed mine fifty times over with those enigmatical 
proverbs of yours," said the Parson, testily, " you would not make it 
any the wiser.'' 

" My good sir," said the Doctor, bowing low from his perch on the 
stile, " I never presumed to say that there were more asses than one in 
the story ; but 1 thought that I could not better explain my meaning, 
which is simply this — you scrubbed the ass's head, azt therefore 



14 MY NOVEL; OK, 

you must lose the soap. Let the fanchdlo have the -sixpence ; and a 
great s;un it is too, for a little boy, who may spend it all as pocket- 



monev 



: There, Lenny — you hear ? " said the Parson, stretching out the 
sixpence. But Lenny retreated, and cast on the umpire a look oi 
great aversion and disgust. 

" Please, Master Dale," said he, obstinately, "I'd rather not." 

"It is a matter of feeling, you see ; " said the Parson, turning to the 
umpire ; " and I believe the boy is right." 

" If it be a matter of feeling," replied Dr. Iticcabocca, " there is no 
more to be said on it. When Peeling comes in at the door, Reason 
has nothing to do but to jump out of the window." 

" Go, my good boy," said the Parson, pocketing the coin ; " but 
stop ! give me your hand first. There 1 understand you ; — good- 
bye!" 

Lenny's eyes glistened as the Parson shook him by the hand, and, 
not trusting himself to speak, he walked off sturdily. The Parson 
wiped his forehead, and sat himself down on the stile beside the 
Italian. The view before them was lovely, and both enjoyed it 
(though not equally) enough to be silent for some moments. On the 
other side the lane, seen between gaps in the old oaks and chest- 
nuts that hung over the moss-grown pales of Hazeldean Park, rose 
gentle, verdant slopes, dotted with sheep and herds of deer ; a 
stately avenue stretched far awav to the left, and ended at the right- 
hand, within a few yards of a ha-ha that divided the park from a level 
sward of table-land gay with shrubs and flower-pots, relieved by the 
shade of two mighty cedars. And on this platform, only seen in 
part, stood the Squire's old-fashioned house, red-brick, with stone 
mullions, gable-ends, and quaint chimney-pots. On this side the 
road, immediately facing the two gentlemen, cottage after cottage 
whitely emerged from the curves in the lane, while, beyond, the 
ground declining, gave an extensive prospect of woods and corn-fields, 
spires and farms. Behind, from a belt of lilacs and evergreens, you 
caught a peep of the parsonage-house, backed by woodlands, and 
a little noisy rill running in front. The birds were still in the hedge- 
rows, — only, as if from the very heart of the most distant woods, 
there came now and then the mellow note of the cuckoo. 

"Verily," said Mr. Dale, softly, "my lot has fallen on a goodly 
heritage." 

The Italian twitched his cloak over him, and sighed almost in- 
audibly. Perhaps he thought of his own Summer Land, and felt that, 
amidst all that fresh verdure of the North, there was no heritage foi' 
the stranger. 

However, before the Parson could notice the sigh, or conjecture 
the cause, Dr. Riccabocca's thin lips took an expression almost 
malignant. 

"Per Bacco!" said he ; "in every country I observe that the rooks 
settle where the trees are the finest. I am sure that, whir. j\ T oah 
first landed on Ararat, he must have found some gentleman in black 
already settled in the pleasantest part of the mountain, and waiting 
for his tenth of the cattle as they came out of the Ark." 



VARIETIES OF ENGLISH LIFE. 15 

The Parson fixed his meek eyes on the philosopher, and there was 
ir them something so deprecating, rather than reproachful, that 
Dr. Eiccabocca turned away his face, and refilled his pipe. Dr. 
Eiccabocca abhorred priests ; but though Parson Dale was emphati- 
cally a parson, he seemed at that moment so little of what Dr. Eicca- 
bocca understood by a priest, that the Italian's heart smote him for 
his irreverent jest on the cloth. Luckily at this moment there was a 
diversion to that untoward commencement of conversation, in the 
appearance of no less a personage than the donkey himself — I mean 
the donkey who ate the apple. 



CHAPTER VI. 

The Tinker was a stout swarthy fellow, jovial and musical withal, 
for he was singing a stave as he flourished his staff, and at the end of 
each refrain down came the staff on the quarters of the donkey. 
The Tinker went behind and sung, the donkey went before and was 
thwacked. 

" Yours is a droll country," quoth Dr. Eiccabocca ; " in mine, it is 
not the ass that walks first in the procession that gets the blows." 

_ The Parson jumped from the stile, and looking over the hedge that 
divided the field from the road — " Gently, gently," said he ; " the 
sound of the stick spoils the singing ! 0, Mr. Sprott, Mr. Sprott ! a 
good man is merciful to his beast." 

The donkey seemed to recognise the voice of its friend, for it 
stopped short, pricked one ear wistfully, and looked up. 

Ihe Tinker touched his hat, and looked up too. " Lord bless your 
reverence ! he does not mind it, he likes it. I vould not hurt thee ; 
vouldl Neddy?" 

The donkey shook his head and shivered : perhaps a fly had settled 
on the sore, which the chestnut-leaves no longer protected. 

"I am sure you did not mean to hurt nim, Sprott," said the 
Parson, more politely I fear than honestly — for he had seen enough 
of that cross-grained thing called the human heart, even in the little 
world of a country parish, to know that it requires management, and 
coaxing, and flattering, to interfere successfully between a man and 
his own donkey — "I am sure you did not mean to hurt him; but 
he has already got a sore on his shoulder as big as my hand, poor 
thing!" 

"Lord, love'un! yes; that was done a-playing with the manger, 
the day I gave 'un oats !" said the Tinker. 

Dr. Eiccabocca adjusted his spectacles, and surveyed the ass. The 
ass pricked up his other ear, and surveyed Dr. Riccabocca. In that 
mutual survey of physical qualifications, each being regarded accord- 
ing to the average symmetry of its species, it may be doubted whether 
the advantage was on the side of the philosopher. 

The Parson had a great notion of the wisdom of his friend, in all 
matters not purely ecclesiastical : 



\F> MV XOVJII.; Oi, 

" Say a good word for the donkey ! " whispered lie. 
" Sir," said ihe Doctor, addressing Mr. Sprott, with a respectful 
salutation, "there's a great kettle at my house— the Casino — which 
wants soldering -. can you recommend me a tinker ?" 

"Why, that's all in my line," said Sprott, "and thereben't a 
tinker in the country that I vould recommend like myself, thof I 
sav it." 

" You jest, good sir," said the Doctor, smiling pleasantly. " A 
man who can't mend a hole in his own donkey, can never demean 
himself by patching up my great kettle." 

" Lord, sir ! " said the Tinker, archly, " if I had known that poor 
Neddy had had two sitch friends in cora't, I'd have seen he vas a 
gintleman, and treated him as sitch." 

" Corpo dl Bacco /" quoth the Doctor, " though that jest's not new, 
I think the Tinker comes very well out of it." 

" True; but the donkey !" said the Parson; "I've a great mind to 
buy it." 

" Permit me to tell you an anecdote in point," said Dr. Puccabocca. 
" Well ? " said the Parson, interrogatively. 

"Once in a time," pursued Riccabocca, "the Emperor Adrian, 
going to the pubbc baths, saw an old soldier, who had served under 
him, rubbing his back against the marble wall. The Emperor, who 
was a wise, and therefore a curious, inquisitive man, sent for the 
soldier, and asked him why he resorted to that sort of friction. 
' Because,' answered the veteran, ' I am too poor to have slaves to 
rub me down.' The Emperor was touched, and gave him slaves and 
money. The next clay, when Adrian went to the baths, all the old 
men in the city were to be seen rubbing themselves against the 
marble as hard as they could. The Emperor sent for them, and 
asked them the same question which he had put to the soldier : the 
cunning old rogues, of course, made the same auswer. ' Friends,' 
said Adrian, ' since there are so many of you, you will just rub one, 
another ! ' Mr. Dale, if you don't want to have all the donkeys hi 
the countv with holes in their shoulders, you had better not buy the 
Tinker's!" 

" It is the hardest thing in the world to do the least bit of good," 
groaned the Parson, as he broke a twig off the hedge nervously, 
snapped it in two, and llung away tne fragments : one of them hit tlie 
donkey on the nose. If the ass could have spoken Latin, he would 
have said, " Et hi. Brute!" As it was, he hung down his ears, and 
walked on. 

" Gee hup !" said the Tinker ; and he followed the ass. Then stop- 
ping, he looked over his shoulder, and seeing that the Parson's eyes 
were gazing mournfully on his protege, " Never fear, year reference," 
cned the Tinker, kindly ; " I'll not spite 'ua." 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 1? 



CHAPTER VH. 



" Fotjb o'clock," cried the Parson, looking at his watch : " half an 
hour after dinner-time, and Mrs. Dale particularly begged me to be 
punctual, because of the fine trout the Squire sent us. Will you 
venture on what our homely language calls ' pot luck,' Doctor?" 

Now Riccabocca was a professed philosopher, and valued himself 
on his penetration into the motives of human conduct. And when 
1 he Parson thus invited him to pot luck, he smiled with a kind of 
lofty complacency ; for Mrs. Dale enjoyed the reputation of haying 
what her friends styled, " her little tempers." And, as well-bred 
ladies rarely indulge "little tempers" in the presence of a third 
person not of the family, so Dr. Riccabocca instantly concluded that 
he was invited to stand between the pot and the luck ! Nevertheless 
— as he was fond of trout, and a much more good-natured man than 
lie ought to have been according to his principles — he accepted nie 
hospitality; but he did so with a sly look from over his spectacles, 
which brought a blush into the guilty cheeks of the Parson. Certainly 
Riccabocca had for once guessed right, in his estimate of human 
motives. 

The two walked on, crossed a little bridge that spanned the rill, 
and entered the parsonage lawn. Two dogs, that seemed to have 
6ate on watch for their master, sprang towards him, barking: and 
the sound drew the notice of Mrs. Dale, who, with parasol in hand, 
sallied out from the sash window which opened on the lawn. Now, 
O reader ! I know that, in thy secret heart, thou art chuckling over 
the want of knowledge in the sacred arcana of the domestic hearth, 
betrayed by the author ; thou art saying to thyself, " A pretty way 
to conciliate ' little tempers ' indeed, to add to the offence of spoiling 
the fish the crime of bringing an unexpected Mend to eat it. Pot 
luck, quotha, when the pot's boiled over this half hour !" 

But, to thy utter shame and confusion, O reader ! learn that both 
the author and Parson Dale knew very well what they were about. 

Dr. Riccabocca was the special favourite of Mrs. Dale, and the 
only person in the whole county who never put her out, by dropping 
in. in fact, strange though it may seem at first glance, Dr. Ricca- 
bocca had that mysterious something about him, which we of his 
own sex can so little comprehend, but which always propitiates the 
other. He owed this, in part, to his own profound" but hypocritical 
policy ; for he looked upon woman as the natural enemy to man— 
agairst whom it was necessary to be always on the guard ; whom it 
was prudent to disarm by every species of fawning servility and 
abject complaisance. He owed it also, in part, to the compassionate 
and heavenly nature of the angels whom his thoughts thus yillan- 
ously traduced — for women like one whom they can pity without 
despising ; and there was something in Signor Riccabocca' s poverty, 
in his loneliness, in his exile, whether voluntary or compelled, that 
excited pity; while, despite the threadbare coat, the red umbrella, 

*OL. J. C 



I? MI NOVEL; OK, 

and the wild hair, he had, especially -when addressing ladies, that sir 
of gentleman and cavalier, which is or was more innate in an educated 
Italian, of whatever rank, than perhaps in the highest aristocracy of 
any other country in Europe. Tor, though I grant that nothing is 
more exquisite than the politeness of your French marquis of the old 
regime — nothing more frankly gracious than the cordial address of a 
high-bred English gentleman — nothing morr, kindly prepossessing 
than the genial good-nature of some patriarchal German, who will 
condescend to forget his sixteen quarterings in the pleasure of doing 
you a favour — yet these specimens of the suavity of their several 
nations are rare ; whereas blandness and polish are common attributes 
with your Italian. They seem to have been immemoiially handed 
down to him, from ancestors emulating the urbanity of Csesar, and 
refined by the grace of Horace. 

" Br. Biccabocca consents to dine 'vith us," cried the Parson 
hastily. 

"If Madame permit?" said the Italian, bowing over the hand 
extended to him, which, however, he forbore to take, seeing it w?s 
already full of the watch. 

" I am only sorry that the trout must be quite spoiled," began 
Mrs. Dale plaintively. 

" It is not the trout one thinks of when one dines with Mrs. Dale," 
said the infamous dissimulator. 

" But I see James coming to say that dinner is ready," observed 
the Parson. 

" He said that three quarters of an hour ago, Charles dear," re- 
torted Mrs. Dale, taking the arm of Dr. Biccabocca. 



CHAPTEB VIII. 

While the Parson and his wife are entertaining their guest, i 
propose to regale the reader witli a small treatise apropos of that 
' Charles dear," murmured by Mrs. Dale ;— a treatise expressly 
written for the benefit of The Domestic Circle. 

It is an old jest that there is not a word in the language that con- 
veys so little endearment as the word " dear." But though the 
saying itself, like most truths, be trite and hackneyed, no ittle 
novelty remains to the search of the inquirer into the varieties of 
nimical import comprehended in that malign monosyllable. For 
mstance, I submit to the experienced that the degree of hostility ii 
betrays is in much proportioned to its collocation in the sentence 
When, gliding indirectly through the rest of the period, it takes its 
stand at the close, as in that " Charles dear" of Mrs. :)ale it has 
spilt so much of its natural bitterness by the wry that it assume* 
even a smile, " amara lento temperet risu." Sometimes the smile is 
plaintive, sometimes arch. Ex. gr. 

{Plaintive.)—" I know very well that whatever I do is wrrm<r 
Charles dear." En) 



VARIETIES IX E>'SLiSH LI?K, 18 

" Nay, I am very glad you amused yourself so muck without me, 
Charles dear." 

"Not auite so loud! If you had but my poor head, Charles 
dear," &c." 

Arch.) — "If you could spill the ink anywhere but on the best 
tame-cloth, Charles dear!" 

" But though you must always have your own way, you are not 
quite faultless, own, Charles dear," &c. 

When the enemy stops in the middle of the sentence, its venom is 
naturally less exhausted. Ex. gr. 

" Really, I must say, Charles dear, that you are the most fidget! y 
person," &c. 

" And if the house bills were so high last week, Charles dear, 1 
should just like to know whose fault it was- -that's all." 

" But you know, Charles dear, that you care no more for me and 
the children than — " &c. 

But if the fatal word spring up, in its primitive freshness, at the 
head of the sentence, bow your head to the storm. It then assumes 
the majesty of "my" before it; it is generally more than simple 
objurgation — it prefaces a sermon. My candour obliges me to contess 
that this is the mode in which the hateful monosyllable is more usually 
employed by the marital part of the one flesh ; and has something 
about it of the odious assumption of the Petruchian pater-familias 
— the head of the family— boding, not perhaps "peace and love, 
and quiet life," but certainly "awful rule and right supremacy." 
Ex. yr. 

" My dear Jane — I wish you would just put by that everlasting 
crochet, and listen to me for a few moments," &c. 

" My dear Jane — I wish you would understand me for once — don't 
think I am angry — no, but I am hurt ! You must consider," &c. 

" My dear Jane — I don't know if it is your intention to ruin me ; 
but I only wish you would do as all other women do who care three 
straws for their husband's property," &c. 

" My dear Jane— I wish you to understand that I am the last person 

in the world to be jealous ; but I'll be d d if that puppy, Captain 

Prettyman," &c. 

Now, few so carefully cultivate the connubial garden, as to feel 
much surprise at the occasional sting of a homely nettle or two ; but 
who ever expected, before entering that garden, to find himself 
pricked and lacerated by an insidious exotica! " dear," which he had 
been taught to believe only lived in a hothouse, along with myrtles 
and other tender and sensitive shrubs, wtiich poets appropriate to 
Venus ? Nevertheless Parson Dale being a patient man, and a pat- 
tern to all husbands, would have found no fault with his garden, 
though there had not been a single specimen of " dear," whether the 
dear humilis, or the dear superba ; the dear pallida, rubra, or nigra; 
the dear suuvis, or the dear horrida ; — no, not a single " dear" in the 
whole horticulture of matrimony, which Mrs. Dale had not brought 
to perfection. But this was far from being the case — Mrs. Dale, 

c8 



20 Ti '>v xovr.L; OK, 

living much in retirement, was unaware of the modern improvements, 
m variety of colour and sharpness of prickle, which have rewarded 
to persevering skill of our female florists. 



CHAPTER IX. 

In the cuol of the evening Dr. Biccaoocca walked home across tha 
fields. Mr. and Mrs. Dale had accompanied him half-way ; and as 
they now turned back to the parsonage, they looked behind to catch 
a glimpse of the tall, outlandish figure, winding slowly through the 
path amidst the waves of the green corn. 

"Poor man!" said Mrs. Dale feelingly; "and the button was off 
Ms wristband ! What a pity he has nobody to take care of him ! He 
seems very domestic. Don't you think, Charles, it would be a great 
blessing if we could get him a good wife ?" 

" Um," said the Parson ; " I doubt if he values the married state as 
he ought." 

" What do you mean, Charles ? I never saw a man more polite to 
ladies in mv life." 

"Yes, kit— " 

" But what ? You are always so mysterious, Charles dear." 

" Mysterious ! No, Carry ; but if you could hear what the Doctor 
says of the ladies sometimes." 

" Ay, when you men get together, my dear. I know what that 
means— pretty things you say of us. But you are all alike ; you know 
you are, love ! " 

" I am sure," said the Parson simply, " that I have good cause to 
speak well of the sex — when I tlnnk of you, and my poor mother." 

Mrs. Dale, who. with all her "tempers," was an excellent woman, 
and loved her husband with the whole, of her quick little heart, was 
touched. She pressed his hand, and did not call him dear all the way 
Siome. 

Meanwhile the Italian passed the fields, and came upon the high- 
road about two miles from Hazeldean. _ On one side stood an old- 
fashioned solitary inn, such as English inns used to be before they 
became railway hotels — square, solid, old-fashioned, looking so hos- 
pitable and comfortable, with their great signs swinging from some 
elm-tree in front, and the long row of stables standing a little back 
with a chaise or two in the yard, and the jolly landlord talking of the 
crops to some stout farmer, whose rough pony halts of itself at the 
well-known door. Opposite this inn, on the other side of the road 
stood the habitation of Dr. Biceabocca. ' 

A few years before the date of these annals, the stage-coach on its 
■way to London from a seaport town stopped at the mn, as was its 
wont, for a good hour, that its passengers might dine like Christian 
Englishmen— not gulp down a basin of scalding soup, like everlasting 
heathen Yankees, with that cursed railway whistle shriekin°- like a 
fiend in their ears ! It was the best dining-place on the whole road 



TA1UETIES IX EX GUSH I.IJ1S. 2L 

tor the trout in the neighbouring rill were famous, and so was the 
mutton which came from Hazeldean Park. 

From the outside of the coach had descended two passengers, who, 
alone insensible to the attractions of mutton and trout, refused to 
dine — two melancholy-looking foreigners, of whom one was Signor 
Riccabocca, much the same as we see him now, only that the black 
suit was less threadbare, the tall form less meagre, and he did not. 
then wear spectacles ; and the other was his servant. " They would 
walk about while the coach stopped." Now the Italian's eye had been 
caught by a mouldering, dismantled house on the other side of the 
road, which nevertheless was well situated ; half-way up a green hill, 
with its aspect due south, a little cascade falling down artificial rock- 
work, a terrace with a balustrade, and a few broken urns and statues 
before its Ionic portico ; while on the roadside stood a board, with 
characters already half-effaced, implying that the house was " To be 
let unfurnished, with or without land." 

The abode that looked so cheerless, and which had so evidently 
hung long on hand, was the property of Squire Hazeldean. It had 
been built by his grandfather on the female side — a country gentle- 
man who had actually been in Italy (a journey rare enough to boast 
of in those days), and who, on his return home, had attempted a mina- 
ture imitation of an Italian villa. He left an only daughter and sole 
heiress, who married Squire Hazeldean's father ; and since that time, 
the house, abandoned by its proprietors for the larger residence of the 
Hazeldeans, had been uninhabited and neglected. Several tenants, 
indeed, had offered themselves ; but your true country squire is slow 
in admitting upon his own property a rival neighbour. Some wanted 
shooting. " That," said the Hazeldeans, who were great sportsmen 
and strict preservers, " was quite out of the question." Others were 
fine folks from London. " London servants," said the Hazeldeans, 
who were moral and prudent people, " would corrupt their own, and 
oring London prices." Others, again, were retired manufacturers, at 
whom the Hazeldeans turned up their agricultural noses. In short, 
some were too grand, and others too vulgar. Some were refused 
because they were known so well : " Friends are best at a distance," 
said the Hazeldeans. Others because they were not known at all : 
" No good comes of strangers," said the Hazeldeans. And finally, as 
the house fell more and more into decay, no one would take it unless 
it was put into thorough repair : " As if one was made of money; ! " 
said the Hazeldeans. In short, there stood, the house unoccupied 
and ruinous ; and there, on its terrace, stood the two forlorn Italians, 
surveying it with a smile at each other, as for the first time since they 
set foot in England, they recognised, in dilapidated pilasters and 
broken statues, in a weed-grown terrace, and the remains of an 
orangery, something that reminded them of the land they had left 
behind. 

On returning to the inn, Dr. Iliccabocca took the occasion to leara 
from the innkeeper (who was indeed a tenant of the Squire's) such 
particulars as he could collect ; and a few days afterwards Mr. Hazel- 
dean received a letter from a solicitor of repute in London, stating 
that, a very respectable foreign gentleman had commissioned him to 



28 Ml .NOVEL; OK, 

treat for Clump Lodge, otherwise called the " Casino :" that the said 
gentleman did not shoot — lived in great seclusion — and, having no 
Family, did not care about the repairs of the place, provided only it 
were made weather-proof — if the omission of more expensive repara- 
tions could render the rent suitable to his finances, which were very 
limited. The offer came at a fortunate moment — when the steward 
had just been representing to the Squire the necessity of doing some- 
thing to keep the Casino from falling into positive ruin, and the 
Squire was cursing the fates which had put the Casino into an entail 
— so that he could not pull it down for the building materials. 
Mr. Hazeldean therefore caught at the proposal even as a fair lady, 
who has refused the best offers in the kingdom, catches, at last, at 
some battered old captain on half-pay, and replied that, as for rent, if 
the solicitor's client was a quiet, respectable man, he did not care for 
that, but that the gentleman might have it for the first year rent-free, 
on condition of paying the taxes and putting the place a little in order. 
If they suited each other they could then come to terms. Ten days 
subsequently to this gracious reply, Signor Biccabocca and his servant 
arrived ; and, before tue vear's end, the Squire was so contented with 
his tenant that he gave him a running lease of seven, fourt een, or 
twenty-one years, at a rent merely nominal, on condition that Signor 
Biccabocca would put and maintain the place hi repair, barring the 
roof and fences, which the Squire generously renewed at his own 
expense. It was astonishing, by little and little, what a pretty place 
the Italian had made of it, and, what is more astonishing, how little 
it had cost him. He had, indeed, painted the walls of the hall, stair- 
case, and the rooms appropriated to himself, with his own hands. 1J is 
servant had done the greater part of the upholstery. The two 
between them had got the garden into order. The Italians seemed 
to have taken a joint love to the place, and to deck it as they would 
have done some favourite chapel to their Madonna. 

It was long before the natives reconciled themselves to the odd 
ways of the foreign settlers— the first thing that offended them was 
the exceeding smallness of the household bills. Three days out of the 
seven, indeed, both man and master dined on nothing else but the 
vegetables in the garden, and the fishes in the neighbouring rill • 
when no trout could be caught they fried the mimiows (and certainly, 
even in the best streams, minnows are more frequently caught than 
trouts). The next thing, which angered the natives quite as much, 
especially the female part of the neighbourhood, was the very sparing 
employment the two he creatures gave to the sex usually deemed so 
indispensable in household matters. At first, indeed, they had no 
woman servant at all. But this created such horror, that Parson Dale 
ventured to hint upon the matter, which Biccabocca took in very 
good part, and an old woman was forthwith engaged, after some bar- 
gaining — at three shillings a week — to wash and scrub as much as she 
liked during the daytime. She always returned to her own cottage 
to sleep. The man-servant, who was styled in the neighbourhood 
" Jackeymo," did all else for his master— smoothed his room, dusted 
his papers, prepared his coffee, cooked his dinner, brushed his clothe^ 
and cleaned his pipes, of which Biccabocca had a large collection. 



YaBXETIES in ekomsh life. 2S 

But however close a man's character, it generally creeps out in 
driblets ; and on many little occasions the Italian had shown acts of 
kindness, and, on some more rare occasions, even of generosity, which 
had served to silence his calumniators, and by degrees he had esta- 
blished a very fair reputation — suspected, it is true, of being a little 
inclined to the Black Art, and of a strange inclination to starve 
Jackeymo and himself, — in other respects harmless enough. 

Signor Riccabocca had become very intimate, as we have seen, at 
the Parsonage. But not so at the hall. For though the Squire was 
inclined to be Very friendly to all his neighbours, he was, like most 
country gentlemen, rather easily huffed. Riccabocca had, if with 
great politeness, still with great obstinacy, refused Mr. Hazeldean's 
earlier invitations to dinner; and yhen the Squire found that the 
Italian rarely declined to dine at the Parsonage, he was offended in 
one of his weak points — viz., his pride in the hospitality of Hazeldean 
Hall — and he ceased altogether invitations so churlishly rejected. 
Nevertheless, as it was impossible for the Squire, however huffed, to 
bear malice, he now and then reminded Riccabocca of his existence 
by presents of game, and would have called on him more often than 
he did, but that Riccabocca received him with such excessive polite- 
ness that the blunt country gentleman felt shy and put out, and 
used to say that " to call on Rickeybockey was as bad as going to 
Court." 

But we have left Dr. Riccabocca on the high-road. By this time 
he has ascended a narrow path that winds by the side of the cascade ; 
he has passed a trellis-work covered with vines, from the which 
Jakeymo has positively succeeded in making what he calls wine, — a 
liquid, indeed, that if the cholera had been popularly known in those 
days, would have soured the mildest member of the Board of Health ; 
for Squire Hazeldean, though a robust man, who daily carried off his 
bottle of port with impunitv, having once raslily tasted it, did not 
recover the effect till he had had a bill from the apothecary as long as 
his own arm. Passing this trellis, Dr. Riccabocca entered upon he 
terrace, with its stone pavement smoothed and trimmed as hands could 
make it. Here, on neat stands, all his favourite flowers were arranged; 
here four orange trees were in full blossom ; here a kind of summer- 
house or Belvidere, built by Jakeymo and himself, made his chosen 
morning room from May till October ; and from this Belvidere there 
was as beautiful an expanse of prospect as if our English Nature had 
hospitably spread on her green board all that she had to offer as a 
banquet to the exile. 

A man without his coat, which was thrown over the balustrade, was 
employed in watering the towers ; a man with movements so necha- 
nical, with a face so rigidly grave in its tawny hues, that he seemed 
like an automaton made out of mahogany. 

" Giacomo," said Dr. Riccabocca, softly. 

The automaton stopped its hand, and turned its head. 

" Put by the watering-pot, and come hither," continued Riccabocca, 
m Italian ; and moving towards the balustrade, he leaned over it. 
Mr. Mitford,the historian, calls Jean Jacques "John James." Following 
that illustrious example, Giacomo shall be Anglified into Jackeymo. 



34 W-Y NOVEL; OB, 

Jackeymo came to the balustrade also, and stood n little behind bis 
master. 

"Friend," said Eiccabocca, "enterprises have not always succeeded 
with us. Don't you think, after all, it is tempting our evil star to 
rent those fields from the landlord ? '"' Jackeymo crossed himself, 
-and made some strange movement with a httle coral charm which he 
wore set in a ring on his finger. 

" If the Madonna send us luck, and we could hire a lad cheap F " 
said Jackeymo, doubtfully. 

" Piu vale uii presente che duifuturi" said Eiccabocca (" A bird in 
the hand is worth two in the bush"). 

" Chi nonfa qiiando pub, non ptib fare quando vtwle" — (" He who 
will not when he may, when he wills it shall have nay "), — answered 
Jackeymo, as sententious!/ as his master. " And the Padrone should 
think in time that he must lay by for the dower of the poor signorina " 
(young lady). 

Eiccabocca sighed, and made no reply. 

" She must he that high now ! " said Jackeymo, putting his hand on 
some imaginary line a little above the balustrade. Eiccabocca's eyes, 
raised over the spectacles, followed the hand. 

" If the Padrone could but see her here " 

" I thought I did ! " muttered the Italian. 

" He would never let her go from his side till she went to a hus- 
band's," continued Jackeymo. 

"But this climate— she could never stand it," said Eiccabocca, 
drawing his cloak round him, as a north wind took him in the 
rear. 

" The orange trees blossom even here with care," said Jackeymo, 
turning back to draw down an awning where the orange trees faced 
the north. " See ! " he added, as he returned with a sprig in full 
bud. 

Dr. Eiccabocca bent over the blossom, and then placed it in his 
bosom. 

"The other one should be there too," said Jackeymo. 

" To die — as this docs already ! " answered Eiccabocca. " Sav no 
more." 

Jackeymo shrugged his shoulders ; and then, glancing at his master 
dicw his hand over his eyes. ' 

There was a pause. Jackeymo was the first to break it. 

"But, whether here or there, beauty without money is the orange 
tree without shelter. If a lad could be got cheap, 1 would hire the 
land, and trust for the crop to the Madonna." 

"I think I know of such a lad," said Eiccabocca, recovering him- 
self, and with his sardonic smile once more lurking about the comers 
of his mouth, — " a lad made for us." 

"Diavolo!" 

" No, not the Diavolo ! 1'riend, I have this day seen a boy who— 
refused sixpence ! " 

"Cosa stupendaf" — (Stupendous thing!) — exclaimed Jackevmo 
opening his eyes, and letting fall the watering-pot. " ' 

" It is true, my friend.' 



VAMETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 25' 

" Take him, Padrone, in Heaven's name, and tlie fields wiil grow 

" I will think of it, for it must require management to catch such a- 
boy," said Eiccabocca. "Meanwhile, light a candle in the parlour, 
and bring from my bedroom — that great folio of Machiavelli." 



CHAPTER X. 

Jx my next chapter I shall present Squire Hazeldean in patriarchal 
state — not exactly under the fig-tree he has planted, but before the 
stocks he has reconstructed — Squire Hazeldean and his family on the 
village green ! The canvas is all ready for the colours. 

But in this chapter I must so far afford a glimpse into antecedents 
as to let the reader know that there is one member of the family whom 
he is not likely to meet at present, if ever, on the village green at 
Hazeldean. 

Our Squire lost his father two years after his birth ; his mother was 
very handsome — and so was her jointure ; she married again at the 
expiration other year of mourning; the object of her second choice 
was Colonel Egerton. 

In every generation of Englishmen (at least since the lively reign 
of Charles II.) there are a few whom some elegant genius skims oil 
from the milk of human nature, and reserves for the cream of society. 
Colonel Egerton was one of these ter quaterque beati, and dwelt 
apart on a top shelf in that delicate porcelain dish — not bestowed 
upon vulgar buttermilk — which persons of fashion call The Great 
World. Mighty was the marvel of Pall Mall, and profound was the 
pity of Park Lane, when this super-eminent personage condescended 
to lower himself into a husband. But Colonel Egerton was not a 
mere gaudy butterfly ; he had the provident instincts ascribed to the 
bee. Youth had passed from him, and earned off much solid pro- 
perty in its flight ; he saw that a time was fast coming when a home, 
with a partner who could help to maintain it, would he conducive to 
his comforts, and an occasional hum-drum evening by the fireside 
beneficial to his health. In the midst of one season at Brighton, to 
which gay place he had accompanied the Prince of Wales, he saw a 
widow who, though in the weeds of mourning, did not appear incon- 
solable. Her person pleased his taste — the accounts of her jointure 
satisfied his understanding — he contrived an introduction, and brought 
a brief wooing to a happy close. The late Mr. Hazeldean had so far 
anticipated the chance of the young widow's second espousals, that, 
in case of that event, he transferred, by his testamentary dispositions, 
the guardianship of his infant heir from the mother to two squires^ 
•whom he had named his executors. This circumstance combined 
with her new ties somewhat to alienate Mrs. Hazeldean from the 
pledge of her former loves ; and when she had borne a son to Colonel 
Egerton, it was upon that child that her maternai affections graduaUv 
concentrated. 



26 31T NOVEL; OK, 

William Hazeldean was sent by his guardians to a large provincial 
academy, at which his forefathers had received their education time 
out of mind. At first he spent his holidays with Mrs. Egerton ; but 
as she now resided either in London, or followed her lord to Brighton, 
to partake of the gaieties at the Pavilion— so, as he grew older, 
William, who had a hearty affection for country life, and of whose 
bluff manners and rural breeding Airs. Egerton (having grown exceed- 
ingly refined) was openly ashamed, asked and obtained permission to 
spend Ms vacations either with his guardians or at the old Hall. He 
went late to a small college at Cambridge, endowed in the fifteenth 
century by some ancestral Hazeldean ; and left it, on coming of age, 
without taking a degree. A few years afterwards he married a young 
lady, country born and bred like himself. 

Meanwhile his half-brother, Audley Egerton, may be said to have 
begun his initiation into the beau monde before he had well cast aside 
his coral and bells ; he had been fondled in the lap of di .chesses, and 
had galloped across the room astride on the canes of ambassadors and 
princes. Eor Colonel Egerton was not only very highly connected — 
not only one of the Dii majores of fashion — but lie had the still rarer 
good fortune to be an exceedingly popular man with all who knew him ; 
so popular, that even the fine ladies whom he had adored and aban- 
doned forgave him for marrying out of " the set," and continued to 
be as friendly as if he had not married at all. People who were com- 
monly called heartless were never weary of doing kind things to the 
Egertons. When the time came for Audley to leave the preparatory 
school at which his infancy budded forth amongst the stateliest of the 
little lilies of the field, and go to Eton, half the fifth and sixth forma 
had been canvassed to be exceedingly civil to young Egerton. The 
boy soon showed that he inherited his father's talent Tor acquiring 
popularity, and that to this talent he added those which put popu- 
larity^ use. Without achieving any scholastic distinction, he yet 
contrived to establish at Eton the most desirable reputation which a 
boy can obtain — namely, that among his own contemporaries, the 
reputation of a boy who was sure to do something when he grew to 
be a man. As a gentleman commoner at Christ Church, Oxford, he 
continued to sustain this high expectation, though he won no prizes, 
and took but an ordinary degree ; and at Oxford the future " some- 
thing " became more defined — it was " something in public life " thai 
this voung man was to do. 

While he was yet at the university, both his parents died — within 
a few month? rf each other. And when Audley Egerton came of age, 
He succeeded to a paternal property which was supposed to be lar^e' 
and indeed had once been so ; but Colonel Egerton had been too 
lavish a man to enrich his heir, and about £1,500 a year was all that 
sales and mortgages left of an estate that had formerly approached ■> 
rental of £10,000. 

Still, Audley was considered to be opulent, and he did not dispel 
that favourable notion by any imprudent exhibition of parsimony 
On entering the world of London, the Clubs flew open to receive him' 
and he woke one morning to find himself, not indeed famous — but the 
fashion, To this fashion he at once gave a sertaiu gravity and value 



■VAMETIES IN .ENGLISH LIFE. 27 

— ne associated as much as possible with public men and political 
ladies — he succeeded in confirming the notion that he was " born to 
ruin or to rule the State." 

The dearest and most intimate friend of Audley Egerton was Lord 
L'Estrhiige, from whom he had been inseparable at Eton ; and who 
now, if Audley Egerton was the fashion, was absolutely the rage in 
London. 

Harley, Lord L'Estrange, was the only son of the Earl of Lansmere, 
a nobleman of considerable wealth, and allied, by intermarriages, to 
the loftiest and most powerful families in England. Lord Lansmere, 
nevertheless, was but little known in the circles of London. He 
lived chiefly on his estates, occupying himself with the various duties 
of a great proprietor, and when he came to the metropolis, it was 
rather to save than to spend ; so that he could afford to give his son 
a very ample allowance, when Harley, at the age of sixteen (having 
already attained to the sixth form at Eton), left school for one of the 
regiments of the Guards. 

Few knew what to make of Harley L'Estrange — and that was, 
perhaps, the reason why he was so mucli thought of. He had been 
by far the most brilliant boy of his time at Eton — not only the boast 
of the cricket-ground, but the marvel of the school-room ; yet so full 
of whims and oddities, and seeming to achieve his triumphs with so 
little aid from steadfast application, that he had not left hehind him 
the same expectations of solid eminence which his friend and senior, 
Audley Egerton, had excited. His eccentricities — his quaint sayings, 
and out-of-the-way actions, became as notable in the great world as 
they had been in the small one of a public school. That he was very 
clever there was no doubt, and that the cleverness was of a high 
order might be surmised, not only from the ori duality but the inde- 
pendence of his character. He dazzled the world, without seeming 
to care for its praise or its censure — dazzled it, as it were, because he 
could not help shining. He had some strange notions, whether poli- 
tical or social, which rather frightened his father. According to 
Southey, " A man should be no more ashamed of having been a repub- 
lican than of having been young." Youth and extravagant opinions 
naturally go together. I don't know whether Harley L'Estrange was 
a republican at the age of eighteen ; but there was no young man m 
London who seemed to care less for being heir to an illustrious name 
and some forty or fifty thousand pounds a year. It was a vulgar 
fashion in that day to play the exclusive, and cut persons who wore 
bad neckcloths, and called themselves Smith or Johnson. Lord 
L'Estrange never cut any one, and it was quite enough to slight 
some worthy man because of his neckcloth or his birth, to insure to 
the offender the pointed civilities of this eccentric successor to tne 
Belforts and the Wildairs. 

It was the wish of his father that Harley, as soon as he came of age, 
should represent the borough of Lansmere (which said borough was 
the single plague of the Earl's life). But this wish was never realised. 
Suddenly, when the young idol of London still wanted some two or 
three years of his majority, a new whim appeared to seize him. He 
withdrew entirely from society — he left unanswered the most pressing 



23 mr .novel; ob. 

three-cornered notes of inquiry and invitation that ever strewed the 
table of a young Guardsman; he was rarely seen anywhere in his 
former haunts — when seen, was either alone or with Egerton ; and 
his gay spirits seemed wholly to have left him. A profound melan- 
choly was written in his countenance, and breathed in the listless 
tones of his voice. About this time a vacancy happening to occur for 
the representation of Lansmere, Harley made it liis special request to 
his father that the family interest might be given to Audley Egerton 
— a request which was backed by all the influence of his lady mother, 
who shared in the esteem which her son felt for his friend. The Earl 
yielded ; and Egerton, accompanied by Harley, went down to Lans- 
mere Park, which adjoined the borough, in order to be introduced to 
the electors. This visit made a notable epoch in the history of many 
personages who figure in my narrative ; but at present I content; 
myself with saying, that circumstances arose which, just as the 
canvass for the new election commenced, caused both L'Esti'angc 
and Audley to absent themselves from the scene of action, and that 
the last even wrote to Lord Lansmere expressing his intention of 
declining to contest the borough. 

Fortunately for the parliamentary career of Audley Egerton, the 
election had become to Lord Lansmere not only a matter of public- 
importance, but of personal feeling. He resolved that the battle 
should be fought out, even in the absence of the candidate, and at his 
own expense. Hitherto the contest for this distinguished borough 
had been, to use the language of Lord Lansmere, l: conducted in the 
spirit of gentlemen," — that is to say, the only opponents to the Lans- 
mere interest had been found in one or the other of two rival families 
in the same county ; and as the Earl was a hospitable, courteous 
man, much respected and liked by the neighbouring gentry, so the 
hostile candidate had always interlarded his speeches with profuse 
compliments to his Lordship's high character, and civil expressions 
as to his Lordship's candidate. But, thanks to successive elections, 
one of these two families had come to an end, and its actual repre- 
sentative was now residing within the Rules of the Bench ; the head 
of the other family was the sitting member, and, by an amicable 
agreement with the Lansmere interest, he remained as neutral as it is 
in the power of any sitting member to be amidst the passions of an 
intractable committee. Accordingly, it had been hoped that Egerton 
would come in without opposition, when, the very day on which he 
had abruptly left the place, a handbill, signed " Haverill Dashmore, 
Captain B.N., Baker Street, Portman Square," announced, in very 
spirited language, the intention of that gentleman " to emancipate 
the borough from the unconstitutional domination of an oligarchical 

faction, not with a view to his own political aggrandisement 

indeed, at great personal inconvenience— but actuated solely by 
abhorrence to tyranny, and patriotic passion for the purity of 
election." 

This announcement was followed, within two hours, by the arriva! 
of Captain Dashmore himself, in a carriage and four, covered wit'v 
fellow favours, and filled, inside and out, with harum-scaanim-lookini 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIEE 29 

riends, who had come down with him to share the canvass and par- 
take the fun. 

Captain Dashmore was a thorough sailor, who had, however, con- 
ceived a disgust to the profession from the date in which a minister's 
nephew had been appointed to the command of a ship to which 'he 
Captain considered himself unquestionably entitled. It is just to the 
minister to add, that Captain Dashmore had shown as little regard 
tor orders from a distance, as had immortalised Kelson himself; but 
i hen the disobedience had not achieved the same redeeming success. 
as that of Nelson, and Captain Dashmore ought to have thought him- 
self fortunate in escaping a severer treatment than the loss of pro- 
motion. But no man knows when he is well off ; and retiring on 
half-pay, just as he came into unexpected possession of some forty or 
fifty thousand pounds, bequeathed by a distant relation, Captain 
Dashmore was seized with a vindictive desire to enter parliament, and 
inflict oratorical chastisement on the Administration. 

A very few hours sufficed to show the sea-captain to be a most 
capital eleetioneercr for a popular but not enlightened constituency. 
It is true that he talked the saddest nonsense ever heard from an 
open window ; but then his jokes were so broad, Ms manner so hearty, 
Ms voice so big, that in those dark days, before the schoolmaster wa^ 
abroad, he would have beaten your philosopliical Radical and moral- 
ising Democrat hollow. Moreover, he kissed all the women, old and 
young, with the zest of a sailor who has known what it is to be three 
years at sea without sight of a beardless lip ; he threw open all the 
public-houses, asked a numerous committee every day to dinner, and, 
chucking his purse up in the air, declared " he would stick to his guns 
while there was a shot in the locker." Till then, there had been but 
little political difference between the candidate supported by Lord 
Lansmere's interest and the opposing parties — for country gentlemen, 
in those days, were pretty much of the same way of flunking, and the 
question had been really local — viz., whether the Lansmere interest 
should or should not prevail over that of the two squirenrcMcnl 
families who had alone, Mtherto, ventured to oppose it. But though 
Captain Dashmore was really a very loyal man, and much too old ;; 
sailor to tMnlc that the State (which, according to established meta- 
phor, is a vessel par excellence) should admit Jack upon quarterdeck, 
yet, what with talking against lords and aristocracy, jobs and abuses, 
and searching through no very refined vocabulary for the strongest, 
epithets to apply to those irritating nouns-substantive, Ms bile had 
got the better of his understanding, and he became fuddled, as it 
were, by his own eloquence. Thus, though as innocent of Jacobimcal 
designs as he was mcapable of setting the Thames on fire, you would 
have guessed Mm, by Ms speeches, to be one of the most determined 
incendiaries that ever applied a match to the combustible materials 
of a contested election ; wMle, being by no means accustomed to 
respect Ms adversaries, he could not have treated the Earl of Lans- 
mere with less ceremony if Ms LordsMp had been a Frenchman. He 
usually designated that respectable nobleman, who was still in ths 
crime of life, by the title of " Old Pompous ;" and Hie Mayor, who 



30 MT NOVEL; OR, 

was never seen abroad but in top-boots, and the solicitor, who was of 
a lar°-e build, received from his irreverent wit the joint sobriquet of 
"Tops and Bottoms!" Hence the election had now become, as I 
said before, a personal matter with my Lord, and, indeed, with the 
great heads of the Lansmere interest. The Earl seemed to consider 
lis very coronet at stake in the question. " The Man from Baker 
Street," with his preternatural audacity, appeared to him a being 
ominous and awful— not so much to be regarded with resentment as 
with superstitious terror : he felt as felt the dignified Montezuma, 
when that ruffianly Cortez, with his handful of Spanish rapscallions, 
bearded him in his own capital, and in the midst of his Mexican 
splendour. The gods were menaced if man could be so insolent ! 
wherefore, said my Lord tremulously, — " The Constitution is gone if 
the Man from Baker Street comes in for Lansmere ! " 

But, in the absence of Audley Egertou, the election looked ex- 
tremely ugly, and Captain Dashmore gained ground hourly, when the 
Lansmere solicitor happily bethought him ot a notable proxy for the 
missing candidate. The Squire of Hazeldean. with his young wife, 
had been invited by the earl in honour of Audley ; and in the Squire 
the solicitor beheld the only mortal who could cope with the sea- 
captain — a man with a voice as burly and a face as bold — a man who, 
if permitted for the nonce by Mrs. Hazeldean, would kiss all the 
women no less heartily than the captain kissed them ; and who was, 
moreover, a taller, and a handsomer, and a younger man— all three 
great recommendations in the kissing department of a contested 
election. Yes, to canvass the borough, and to speak from the win- 
dows, Squire Hazeldean would be even more popularly presentable 
than the London-bred and accomplished Audley Egerton himself. 

The Squire, applied to and urged on all sides, at first said bluntly, 
" that he would do anything in reason to serve his brother, but that 
he did not like, for his own part, appearing, even in proxy, as a 
lord's nominee ; and moreover, if he was to be sponsor for his bro- 
ther, why, he must promise and vow, in Ins name, to be staunch and 
true to the land they lived by ! And how could he tell that Audley. 
when once he got into the House, would not forget the land, ana 
then he, "William Hazeldean, would be made a liar, and look like a 
turncoat!" 

But these scruples being overruled by the arguments of the gen- 
tlemen, and the entreaties of the ladies, v no took in the election that 
intense interest which those gentle creatures usually do take m all 
matters of strife and contest, the Squire at length consented to con- 
front the Man from Baker Street, and went accordingly into the 
thing with that good heart and old English spirit with which he went 
into everything whereon he had once made up his mind. 

The expectations formed of the Squire's capacities for popular 
electioneering were fully realised. He talked quite as much non- 
sense as Captain Dashmore on every subject except the landed 
interest ; there he was great, for he knew the subject well— knew it 
by the instinct that comes with practice, and compared to which all 
your showy theories are mere cobwebs and moonshine. 
The agricultural outvoters— many of whom, not living under Lord 



VARIETIES IX ENGUSII LIFE. *& 

iansmere, but being small yeomen, had hitherto prided themselves 
»n their independence, and gone against my Lord — could not in their 
nearts go against one who was every inch the farmer's friend. They 
Began to share in the Earl's personal interest against the Man from 
Baker Street ; and big fellows, with legs bigger round than Captain 
Dashmore's tight little body, and huge whips in their hands, were 
soon seen entering the shops, " intimidating the electors," as Captain 
Dashmore indignantly declared. 

These new recruits made a great difference in the muster-roll of 
the Lansmere books ; and when the day for polling arrived, the result 
was a fair question for even betting. At the last hour, after a neck- 
and-neck contest, Mr. Audley Egerton beat the Captain by > two 
votes. And the names of these voters were John Avenel, resident 
freeman, and his son-in-law, Mark Fan-field, an outvoter, who, though 
a Lansmere freeman, had settled in Hazeldean, where he had ob- 
tained the situation of head carpenter on the Squire's estate. 

These votes were unexpected ; for, though Mark Fairfield had 
come to Lansmere on purpose to support the Squire's brother, and 
though the Avenels had been always staunch supporters of the Lans- 
mere Blue interest, yet a severe affliction (as to the nature of which, 
not desiring to sadden the opening of my story, I am considerately 
silent) had befallen both these persons, and they had left the town 
on the very day after Lord L'Estrange and Mi". Egerton had quitted 
Lansmere Park. 

Whatever might have been the gratification of the Squire, as a 
canvasser and a brother, at Mr. Egerton's triumph, it was much 
damped when, on leaving the dinner given in honour of the victory 
at the Lansmere Arms, and about, with no steady step, to enter the 
carriage which was to convey him to his lordship's house, a letter 
was put into his hands by one of the gentlemen who had accompanied 
the Captain to the scene of action ; and the perusal of that letter, 
and a few whispered words from the bearer thereof, sent the Squire 
back to Mrs. Hazeldean a much soberer man than she had ventured to 
hope for. The fact was, that on the day of nomination, the Captain 
having honoured Mr. Hazeldean with many poetical and 6gurative ap- 
pellations — such as " Prize Ox," " Tony Lumpkin," " Blood-sucking 
Vampire," and "Brotherly Warming-pan," the squire had retorted 
by a Joke about "Saltwater Jack;" and the Captain, who, like all 
satirists, was extremely susceptible and thin-skinned, could not con- 
sent to be called " Salt-water Jack" by a "Prize Ox" and a Blood- 
sucking Vampire." 

The letter, therefore, now conveyed to Mr. Hazeldean by a gen- 
tleman, who, being from the Sister Country, was deemed the most 
fitting accomplice in the honourable destruction of a brother mortal, 
contained nothing more nor less than an invitation to single combat ; 
and the bearer thereof, with the suave politeness enjoined by 
etiquette on such well-bred homicidal occasions, suggested the 
expediency of appointing the place of meeting in the neighbourhood 
of London, in order to prevent interference from the suspicious 
authorities of Lansmere. 

The natives of some countries— the warlike French in particular— 



32 my xnv£L; on, 

think little of that formal operation which goes by the name cf 
nUELLiXG. Indeed, they seem rather to like it than otherwise. But 
ihcre is nothing your thorough-paced Englishman — a Hazeldean of 
Hazeldean — considers with more repugnance and aversion, than that 
same cold-blooded ceremonial. It is not within the range of an 
Englishman's ordinary habits of thinking. He prefers going to law 
— a much more destructive proceeding of the two. Nevertheless, if 
an Englishman must fight, why, he will fight. He says " it is very 
foolish;" he is sure "it is most unchristianlike ;" he agrees with all 
that Philosophy, Preacher, and Press have laid down on the subject ; 
but he makes his will, says his prayers, and goes out — like a heathen. 

It never, therefore, occurred to the Squire to show the white 
feather upon this unpleasant occasion. The next day, feigning excuse 
to attend the sale of a hunting stud at Tattersall's, he ruefully went 
up to London, after taking a peculiarly affectionate leave of his wife. 
Indeed, the Squire felt convinced that he should never return home 
except iu a coffin. " It stands to reason," said he to himself, " that 
a man who has been actually paid by the King's Government for 
shooting people ever since he was a little boy in a midshipman's 
jacket, must be a dead hand at the job. I should not mind if it was 
with double-barrelled Mantons and small shot ; but, ball and pistol ! 
they aren't human nor sportsmanlike !" However, the Squire, after 
settling his worldly affairs, and hunting up an old college friend who 
undertook to be his second, proceeded, to a sequestered corner of 
Wimbledon Common, and planted himself, not sideways, as one ought 
to do in such encounters (the which posture the Squire swore was an 
unmanly way of shirking), but full front to the mouth of his adver- 
sary's pistol, with such sturdy composure, that Captain Dashmorc, 
who, though an excellent shot, was at bottom as good-natured a 
fellow as ever lived, testified his admiration by letting off his gallant 
opponent with a ball in the fleshy part of the shoulder, after which lie 
declared himself perfectly satisfied. The parties then shook hands, 
mutual apologies were exchanged, and the Squire, much to his 
astonishment to find himself still alive, was conveyed to Limmer's 
Hotel, where, after a considerable amount of anguish, the ball was 
extracted and the wound healed. Now it was all over, the Squire 
felt very much raised in his own conceit: and when he was in a 
humour more than ordinarily fierce, that perilous event became a 
favourite allusion with him. 

He considered, moreover, that his brother had incurred at his hand 
the most lasting obligations ; and that, having procured Audley's 
return to Parliament, and defended his interests at risk of his own 
life, he had an absolute right to dictate to that gentleman how to vote 
— upon all matters, at least, connected with the landed interest. 
And when, not very long after Audley took his seat in Parliament 
(which he did not do for some months), he thought proper both to vote 
and to speak in a manner wholly belying the promises the Squire had 
made on his behalf, Mr. Hazeldean wrote him such a trimmer that it 
could not but produce an unconciliatory reply._ Shortly afterwards 
the Squire's exasperation reached the culminating point; for having 
'.o pass through Lansmere on a market-day, he was hooted by the verv 



' ■aUIfcTl.KS Hi ENGLISH LI/JE. 3J 

farmeri whasi he had induced to vote for his brother; and justly 
imputing the disgrace to - Audley, he never heard the name of that 
traitor to the land mentioned -without a heightened colour and an 
indignant expletive. Monsieur de_B<:.queville — who was the greatest 
wit of his day — had, like the Squire, a half-brother, with whom he 
was not on the best of terms, and of whom he always spoke as his 
''frere de loin!" Audley Egerton was thus Squire Hazeldean's 
"distant brother!" — Enough of the«e explanatory antecedents — let 
us return to the Stocks. 



CHAPTER XL 

The Squire's carpenters were taken from the park pales, and set to 
work at the Parish Stocks. Then came the painter and coloured 
them a beautiful dark blue, with white border — and a white rim round 
the holes — with an ornamental flourish in the middle. It w r as the 
gayest public edifice in the whole village — though the village pos- 
sessed no less than three other monuments of the Vitruvian genius 
of the Hazeldeans — to wit, the alms-house, the school, and the parish 
pump. 

A more elegant, enticing, cocquetish pair of stocks never gladdened 
the eye of a justice of the peace. 

And Squire Hazeldean's eye was gladdened. In the pride of his 
heart he brought all the family down to look at the stocks. The 
Squire's family (omitting the frere de loin) consisted of Mrs. Hazel- 
dean, his wife ; next, of Miss Jemima Hazeldean, his first cousin ; 
thirdly of Mr. Francis Hazeldean, his only son; and fourthly, of 
Captain Barnabas Higginbotham, a distant relation — who, indeed, 
strictly speaking, was not of the family, but only a visitor ten months 
in the year. Mrs. Hazeldean was every inch the lady — the lady of the 
parish. In her comely, florid, and somewhat sunburnt countenance, 
there was an equal expression of majesty and benevolence ; she had 
a blue eye that invited liking, and an aquiline nose that commanded 
respect. Mrs. Hazeldean had no affectation of fine airs — no wish to 
be greater and handsomer and cleverer than she was. She knew her- 
self, and her station, and thanked heaven for it. There was about 
her speech and manner something of the shortness and bluntness 
which often characterise royalty : and if the lady of a parish is not a 
queen in her own circle, it is never the fault of a parish. Mrs. Hazel- 
dean dressed her part to perfection. She wore silks that seemed 
heirlooms — so thick were they, so substantial and imposing. And 
over these, when she was in her own domain, the whitest of aprons ; 
while at her waist was seen no fiddle-faddle chatelaine, with breloques 
and trumpery, but a good honest gold watch to mark the time, and 
a long pair of scissors to cut off the dead leaves from her flowers— for 
she was a great horticulturist. When occasion needed, Mrs. Hazel- 
dean, could, however, lay by her more sumptuous and imperial raiment 
for a stout riding-habit, of blue Saxony, and canter by her husband's 
side to see the hounds throw cff. Nay, on the days on which Mr. 

VOL. I. D 



54 JlY NOVEL; CE, 

Haze iueaii drove his famous fast-trotting cob to the market-town, it wta 
rarelv that you did not see his wife on the left side of the gig. She 
cared as little as her lord did for wind and weather, and in the midst 
of some pelting shower, her pleasant face peeped over the collar and 
capes of a stout dreadnought, expanding into smiles and bloom as 
some frank rose, that opens from its petals, and rejoices in the dews. 
It was easy to see that the worthy couple had married for love ; they 
were as little apart as they could help it. And still, on the first of 
September, if the house was not full ol company which demanded her 
cares, Mrs. Hazeldean " stepped out " over the stubbles by her 
husband's side, with as light a tread and as blithe an eve as when, in 
the first bridal year, she had enchanted the Squire by her genial 
svmrs'ny with his sports. 

Si there now stands Harriet Hazeldean, one hand leaning on the 
Squire's broad shoulder, the other thrust into hev apron, and trying 
ner best to share her husband's enthusiasm for Ms own public-spirited 
patriotism, in the renovation of the parish stocks. A little behind, 
with two fingers resting on the thin arm of Captain Barnabas, stood 
Miss Jemima, the orphan daughter of the Squire's uncle, by a run- 
away imprudent marriage with a young lady who belonged to a 
family which had been at war with the Hazeldeans since the reign of 
Charles the First, respecting a right of way to a small wood for rather 
spring) of about an acre, through a piece of furze land, which, was let 
to a brickmaker at twelve shillings a-year. The wood belonged to 
the Hazeldeans, the furze land to the Sticktorights (an old Saxon 
family, if ever there was one). Every twelfth year, when the faggots 
and timber were felled, this feud broke out afresh ; for the Stickto- 
rights refused to the Hazeldeans the right to cart off the said faggots 
and timber through the only way by which a cart could possibly pass. 
It is just to the Hazeldeans to say that they had offered to buy the 
land at ten times its value. But the Sticktorights, with equal mag- 
nammity, had declared that they would not " alienate the family 
property for the convenience of the best squire that ever stood upon 
shoe leather." Therefore, every twelfth year, there was always a 
great breach of the peace on the part of both Hazeldeans and Stick- 
torights, magistrates and deputy-lieutenants though they were. The 
question was fairly fought out by their respective dependents, and 
followed by various actions for assault and trespass. As the legal 
question of right was extremely obscure, it never had been properly 
decided ; and, indeed, neither party wished it to be decided, each at 
heart having some doubt of the propriety of its own claim A 
marriage between a younger son of the Hazeldeans, and a younger 
daughter of the Sticktorights, was viewed with equal hidignation by 
both families ; and the consequence had been that the runaway couple 
unblessed and unforgiven, had scrambled through life as they could' 
upon the scanty pay of the husband, who was in a marchin" regiment' 
and the interest of £1,000, which was the wife's fortune independent 
of her parents. They diea and left an only daughter (upon whom the 
maternal £1,000 had been settled), about the time that the Squire 
came of age and into possession of his estates. And though lie in 
Merited all the ancestral hostility towards the Sticktorights it wa« 



VATUETIE<; IN ENGLISH LIFE. 35 

not in bis nature to be unkind to a poor orphan, who was, after ail. 
Ike child of a Hazeldean. Therefore, he had educated and fostered 
-Jeniima with as much tenderness as if she had been his sister ; put 
out her £1 ,000 at nurse, and devoted, from the ready money which 
had accrued from the rents during his minority, as much as made her 
fortune (with her own accumulated at compound interest), no less 
than £4,000, the ordinary marriage portion of the daughters of Hazel- 
dean. On her coming of age, he transferred this sum to her absolute 
disposal/in order that she might feel herself independent, see a little 
more of the world than she could at Hazeldean, have candidates to 
choose from if she deigned to marry ; or enough to live upon, if she 
chose to remain single. Miss Jemima had somewhat availed herself 
of this liberty, by occasional visits to Cheltenham and other w atering- 
places. But her grateful affection to the Squire was such, that she 
could never bear to be long away from the Hall. And this was the 
more praise to her heart, inasmuch as she was far from taking kindly 
to the prospect of being an old maid. And there was so few bachelors 
in the neighbourhood of Hazeldean, that she could not but have that 
prospect before her eyes whenever she looked out of the Hall windows. 
Miss Jemima was indeed one of the most kindly and affectionate of 
beings feminine ; and if she disliked the thought of single blessed- 
ness, it really was from those innocent and womanly instincts towards 
the tender charities of hearth and home, without which a lady, how- 
ever otherwise estimable, is little better than a Minerva in bronze. 
But whether or not, despite her fortune and her face, which last, 
though not strictly handsome, was pleasing, and would have been 
positively pretty if she had laughed more often (for when she laughed, 
there appeared three charming dimples, invisible when she was grave) 
— whether or not, I say, it was the fault of our insensibility or her 
own fastidiousness, Miss Jemima approached her thirtieth year, and 
was still Miss Jemima. Now, therefore, that beautifying 'laugh of 
hers was very rarely heard, and. she had of late become confirmed in 
two opinions, not at all conducive to laughter. One was a conviction 
of the general and progressive wickedness of the male sex, and the 
other was a decided and lugubrious belief that the world was coming 
to an end. Miss Jemima was now accompanied by a small canine 
favourite, true Blenheim, with a snub nose. It was advanced in life, 
and somewhat obese. It sate on its haunches, with its tongue out i.: 
its mouth, except_when it snanped at the flies. There was a strong 
platonic friendship between Miss Jemima and Captain Barnabas 
Higginbotham ; for he too was unmarried, and he had the same ill 
opinion of your sex, my dear madam, that Miss Jemima had of ours. 
The Captain was a man of a slim and elegant figure ; — the less said 
about the face the better, a truth of which the Captain himself was 
sensible, forit was a favourite maxim of his — " that in a man, every- 
thing is a slight, gentleman-like figure." Captain Barnabas did not 
absolutely deny that the world was coming to an end, only he thought 
it would last his time. 

Quite apart from all the rest, with the nonchalant survey of virgin 
dandyism, Eraneis Hazeldean looked over one of the high starched 
neckcloths which were then the fashion — a handsome lad, fresh frora 

» a 



36 JIV Iv'OVEl; OK, 

liton for the summer holidays, but at that ambiguous age, wheD ont - 
disdains the sports of the boy, and has not yet arrived at the resource? 

of the man. . . -,-,,, 

" I should be glad, Frank," said the Squire, suddenly turning round 
to his son, "to see you take a little more interest in duties which, 
one day or the other, you may be called upon to discharge. I can't 
bear to" think that the property should fall into the hands of a fine 
gentleman, who will let things go to rack and ruin, instead of keeping 
them up as I do." 

And the Squire pointed to the stocks. 

Master Frank's eye followed the direction of the cane, as well as 
his cravat would permit ; and he said, drily — 

" Yes, sir ; but how came the stocks to be so long out of repair ?" 
"Because one can't see to everything at once," retorted the Squire, 
tartly. " "When a man has got eight thousand acres to look after, he 
must do a bit at a time." 
" Yes," said Captain Barnabas. " I know that by experience." 
" The deuce you do ! " cried the Squire, bluntly. " .Experience in 
eight thousand acres !" 

"No; in my apartments in the Albany — ]\*o. 3 A. I have had 
them ten years, and it was only last Christmas that 1 bought my Japan 
cat." 

" Dear me," said Miss Jemima ; " a Japan cat ! that must be very 
curious. What sort of a creature is it ?" 

" Don't you know ? Bless me, a thing with three legs, and holds 
toast ! I never thought of it, I assure you, till my friend Cosey said 
to me, one morning when he was breakfasting at my rooms — ' Iliggin- 
botham, how is it that you, who like to have things comfortable 
about you, don't have a cat?' 'Upon my life/ said I, 'one can't 
think of everything at a time :' just like you, Squire." 

"Pshaw," said Mr. Hazeldean, gruffly — "not at all like me. And 
I'll thank you another time, Cousin Higginbotham, not to put me 
out, when 1 am speaking on matters of importance ; poking your cat 
into my stocks ! They look sometliing like now, my stocks — don't 
they, Harry? _ I declare that the whole village seems more re- 
spectable. It is astonishing how much a little improvement adds to 

the— to the " 

" Charm of the landscape," put in Miss Jemima, sentimentally. 
The Squire neither accepted nor rejected the suggested termina- 
tion ; but, leaving his sentence uncompleted, broke suddenly oil 
wi l h — 

" And if I had listened to Parson Dale " 

" You would have done a very wise tiling," said a voice behind as 
the Parson presented himself in the rear. ' 

"Wise thing! Why, surely, Mr. Dale," said Mrs. Hazeldean 
with spirit, for she always resented the least contradiction to her 
lord and master— perhaps as an interference with her own special 
right and prerogative !— " why, surely if it is necessary to have stocks 
it is necessary to repair them." ' 

"That's right— go it, Harry!" cried the Squire, chucklino- anc ] 
Ribbing his hands as if he had been setting his terrier at the 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH L1I E. 37 

Parson : " St — St — at him ! Well, Master Dale, what do you say to 
that?" 

"My dear ma'am," said the Parson, replying in preference to the 
lady, " there are many institutions in the country which are very old- 
look very decayed, and don't seem of much use ; but I would not pull 
them down for all that." 

" You would reform them, then," said Mrs. Hazeldean, doubtfully, 
and with a look at her husband, as much as to say, " He is on politics 
now — that's your business." 

" No, I would not, ma'am," said the Parson, stoutly. 

" What on earth would you do, then ?" quoth the Squire. 

" Just let 'em alone," said the Parson. " Master Prank, there's a 
Latin maxim which was often in the mouth of Sir Robert "Walpole, 
and which they ought to put into the Eton grammar — ' Quieia nott 
movere.' If things are quiet let them be quiet ! I would not destroy 
the stocks, because that might seem to the ill-disposed like a license 
to offend ; and I would not repair the stocks, because that puts it 
into people's heads to get into them." 

The Squire was a staunch politician cf the old school, and he did 
not like to think that, in repaning the stocks, he had perhaps been 
conniving at revolutionary principles. 

" This constant desire of innovation," said Miss Jemima, suddenly 
mounting the more funereal of her two favourite hobbies, "is one of 
the great symptoms of the approaching crash. We are altering, and 
mending, and reforming, when in twenty years at the utmost the 
world itself may be destroyed ! " The fan speaker paused, and — 

Captain Barnabas said thoughtfully — "Twenty years! — the in- 
surance offices rarely compute the best life at more than fourteen." 
He struck his hand on the stocks as he spoke, and added, with his 
usual consolatory conclusion — "The odds are, that it will last our 
time, Squire." 

But whether Captain Barnabas meant the stocks or the world, he 
did not clearly explain, and no one took the trouble to inquire. 

" Sir," said Master Prank to his father, with that furtive spirit of 
quizzing, which he had acquired amongst other polite accomplish- 
ments at Eton — " sir, it is no use now considering whether the stocks 
should or should not have been repaired. The only question is, whom 
you will get to put into them ?" 

" True," said the Squire, with much gravity. 

"Yes, there it is !" said the Parson, mournfully. "If you would 
but learn ' non quieia movere!'" 

"Don't spout your Latin at me, Parson!" cried the Squire, 
ingrily; " I can give you as jjood as you bring, any day. 

' Propria quae maribus tribvmntur macula djcas.— . 
As in pnesenti, perfectum format ill avi.' 

There," added the Squire, turning triumphantly towards his Harry, 
who looked with great admiration at this unprecedented burst of 
learning on the part of Mr. Hazeldean — " there, two can play at that 
game ! And now that we have all seen the stocks, we may as well 
go home, and drink tea. Will you come up and play u rubber, 



\$ MX NOVEL; Oil, 

Hale? No— hang it, man, I've not offended you— you know my 

"That I do, and they are among the things I -would not have 
altered," cried the Parson— holding out his hand cheerfully. The 
Squire gave it a hearty shake, and Mrs. Hazeldean hastened to do 
the same. 

"Do come; I am afraid we've been very rude ; we are sad blunt 
folks. Do come ; that's a dear good man ; and of course, poor 
Mrs. Dale too." Mrs. Hazeldean's favourite epithet for Mrs. Dale 
was poor, and that for reasons to be explained hereafter. 

"I fear my wife has got one of her baa headaches, but 1 will give her 
you' - kind message and at all events you may depend upon me." 

•' That's rignt," said the Squire ; " in half-an-hour, eli ?— How dy'e 
do, my little man?" as Lenny Fairfield, on his way home from some 
errand in the village, drew aside and pulled off his hat with both 
hands. "Stop — you see those stocks — eh? Tell all the bad boys 
in the parish to take care how they get into them — a sad disgrace — 
you'll never be in such a quandary ? " 

" That at least I will answer for," said the Parson. 

" Aud I too," added Mrs. Hazeldean, patting the boy's curly head. 
"Tell your mother I shall come and have a good chat with her to- 
morrow evening." 

And so the party passed on, and Lenny stood still on the road, 
staring hard at the stocks, which stared back at him from its four 
great eyes. 

But Lenny did not remain long alone. As soon as the great folks 
had fairly disappeared, a large number of small folks emerged timor- 
ously from the neighbouring cottages, and approached the site of the 
stocks with much marvel, fear, and curiosity. 

In fact, the renovated appearance of this monster — apropos de bottes, 
as one may say — had already excited considerable sensation among the 
population of Hazeldean. And even as when an unexpected owl 
makes his appearance in broad daylight, all the little birds rise from 
tree and hedgerow, and cluster round their ominous enemy, so now 
gathered all the much-excited villagers round the intrusive and por- 
tentous phenomenon. 

"D'ye know what the diggins the Squire did it for, Gaffer Solo- 
mons?" asked one many-childed matron, with a baby in arms, a.i 
urchin of three years old clinging fast to her petticoat, and her hand 
maternally holding back a more adventurous hero of six, who had a 
great desire to thrust his head into one of the grisly apertures. Al! 
eyes turned to a sage old man, the oracle of the village, who, leaning 
both hands on his crutch, shook his head bodingly. 

"Maw be," said Gaffer Solomons, "some of the boys ha' been 
robbing the orchards." 

" Orchards !" cried a big lad, who seemed to think himself personally 
appealed to — "why, the bud's scarce off the trees yet !" 

"No more it in't!" said the dame with many children, and she 
breathed more freely. 

" Maw be," said Gaffer Solomons, " some o' ye has been sitting 
«!ares." 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 39 

"What for?" said a stout, sullen-looking young fellow, whom con- 
science possibly pricked to reply — "what for, when it bean't the 
season ? And if a poor man did find a hear in his pocket i' the hay- 
time, I should like to know if ever a Squire in the world would let un 
off with the stocks — eh ?" 

This last question seemed a settler, and the wisdom of Gaffer 
Solomons went down fifty per cent, in the public opinion of Hazeldean. 

"Maw be," said the Gaffer — this time with u thrilling effect, 
which restored his reputation — " maw be some o' ye ha' been getting 
drunk, and making beestises o' yoursels ! " 

There was a dead pause, for this suggestion applied too generally 
to be met with a solitary response. At last one ot the women said, 
with a meaning glance at her husband, " God bless the Squire ; he'll 
make some on us happy women if that's all ! " 

There then arose an almost unanimous murmur of approbation 
among the female part of the audience ; and the men looked at each 
other, and then at the phenomenon, with a very hang-dog expression 
of countenance. 

" Or, maw be," resumed Gaffer Solomons, encouraged to a fourth 
suggestion by the success of its predeoessor — "maw be some o' the 
Misseses ha' been making a rumpus, and scolding their goodmen. I 
heard say in my granfeythir's time, that arter old Mother Bang nigh 
died o' the duckmg-stool, them 'ere stocks were first made for the 
women, out o' compassion like ! And every one knows the Squire is 
a koind-hearted man, God bless un ! " 

" God bless un ! " cried the men heartily ; and they gathered lovingly 
round the phenomenon, like heathens of old round a tutelary temple. 
But then there rose one shrill clamour among the females, as they 
retreated with involuntary steps towards the verge of the green, 
whence they glared at Solomons and the phenomenon with eyes so 
sparkling, and pointed at both with gestures so menacing, that 
Heaven only knows if a morsel of either would have remained much 
longer to offend the eyes of the justly-enraged matronage of Hazel- 
dean, if fortunately Master Stirn, the Squire's right-hand man, had 
not come up in the nick of time. 

Master Stirn was a formidable personage — more formidable than 
the Squire himself — as, indeed, a Squire's right hand is generally 
more formidable than the head can jretend to be. He inspired the 
greater awe, because, like the stocks, 01 which he was deputed gu;ir- 
dian, his powers were undefined and obscure, and he had no particular 
place in the out-of-door establishment. He was not the steward, j ct 
lie did much of what ought to be the steward's work ; he was not the 
farm-bailiff, for the Squire called himself his own farm-bailiff; never- 
theless, Mr. Hazeldean sowed and ploughed, cropped and stocked, 
bought and sold, very much as Mr. Stirn condescended to advise. He 
was not the park-keeper, for he neither shot the deer nor super- 
intended the preserves ; but it was he who always found out who had 
broken a park-pale or snared a rabbit. In short, what may be called 
all the harsher duties of a large landed proprietor devolved, by custom 
and choice, upon Mr. Stirn. If a labourer was to be discharged, or 
a rent enforced, and the Squire knew that he should be talked over 



40 Ml' KOT"F»ii OR, 

and that the steward would be as soft as himself, Mr. Stirn was sure 
to be the avenging ay/fXog or messenger, to pronounce the words of 
fate ; so that he appeared to the inhabitants of Hazeldean like the 
Poet's Steva Necessitas, a vague incarnation of remorseless power, 
armed with whips, nails, and wedges. The very brute creation stood 
in awe of Mr. Stirn. The calves knew that it was he who singled out 
which should be sold to the butcher, and huddled up into a corner 
with beating hearts at his grim footstep ; uc sow grunted, the duck 
quacked, the hen bristled her feathers and caLed to her chicks when 
Mr. Stirn drew near. Nature had set her stamp upon him. Indeed, 
it may be questioned whether the great M. Ue Chambray himself, 
surnamed the brave, had an aspect so awe-inspiring as that of Mr. 
Stirn ; albeit the face of that hero was so terrible, that a man who 
had been his lackey, seeing his portrait after he had been dead twenty 
years, fell a trembling all over like a leaf ! 

" And what the plague are you all doing here. ?" said Mr. Stirn, as 
he waved and smacked a great cart-whip which he held in his hand, 
"making such a hullabaloo, you women, you! that I suspect the 
Squire will be sending out to know if the village is on fire. Go home, 
will ye? High time indeed to have the stocks ready, when you get 
squalling and conspiring under the very nose of a justice of the peace, 
just as the French revolutioners did afore they cut off their king's 
head ; my hah stands on end to look at ye." But already, before half 
this address was delivered, the crowd had dispersed in all directions 
— the women still keeping together, and the men sneaking off towards 
the ale-house. Such was the beneficent effect of the fatal stocks on 
the first day of their resuscitation ! 

However, in the break up of every crowd there must always be one 
who gets off the last; and it so happened that our Mend Lenny 
Fahfield, who had mechanically approached close to the stocks, the 
better to hear the oracular opinions of Gaffer Solomons, had no less 
mechanically, on the abrupt appearance of Mr. Stirn, crept, as he 
hoped, out of sight behind the trunk of the elm-tree which partially 
shaded the stocks; and there now, as if fascinated, he still cowered, 
not daring to emerge in full view of Mr. Stirn, and in immediate reach 
of the cart-whip— when the quick eye of the right-hand man detected 
his retreat. 

" Hallo you, sir— what the deuce, laying a mine to blow up the 
stocks ! just hke Guy Fox and the Gunpowder Plot, I declares ! What 
ha' you got in your willainous little fist there ?" 

" Nothing, sir," said Lenny, opening his palm. 
_ ".Nothing— um!" said Mr. Stirn, much dissatisfied; and then as 
lie gazed more deliberately, recognising the pattern bov of the viUa'°-e 
a cloud yet darker gathered over his brow;— for Mr. Stirn who 
*awed himself much on his learning— and who, indeed, by dint of 
<v,ore knowledge as well as more wit than his neighbours, Had attained 
lus present eminent station of life — was extremely anxious that bis 
oidy son should also be a scholar ; that wish 

" The gods aispcrsed In empty air." 

Master Stirn was a notable dunce at the Parson's school, wlule Lena? 



VARIETIES IS ENGLISH LIFE. 41 

Fairfield was the pride and boast of it; therefore Mr. Stiru was 
naturally, and almost justifiably, ill-disposed towards Lenny Fairfield, 
who had appropriated, to himself the praises which Mr. Stirn had 
designed for his son. 

" Um !" said the right-hand man, glowering on Lenny malignantly, 
" you are the pattern boy of the village, are you ? Very well, sir — 
I lien I put these here stocks under your care — and you'll keep off the 
other boys from sitting on 'em, and picking off the paint, and playing 
three-holes and chuck-farthing, as I declare they've been a doing, just 
in front of the elewation. ]\"ow, you knows your 'sponsibilities, little 
boy— and a great honour they are too, for the like o' you. If any 
damage be done, it is to you I shall look ; d'ye understand ?— and 
that's what the Squire says to me. So you sees what it is to be a 
pattern boy, Master Lenny ! " 

With that Mr. Stirn gave a loud crack of the cart-whip, by way of 
military honours, over the head of the vicegerent he had thus created, 
and strode off to pay a visit to two young unsuspecting pups, whose 
ears and tails he had graciously promised their proprietor to crop that 
evening. Nor, albeit few charges could b""; more obnoxious than that 
of deputy-governor or charge-d' 'affaires extraordinaires to the Parish 
Stocks, nor one more likely to render Lenny Fairfield odious to his 
contemporaries, ought he to have been insensible to the signal advan- 
tage of his condition over that of the two sufferers, against whose ears 
and tails Mr. Stirn had no special motives of resentment. To every 
bad there is a worse — and fortunately for little boys, and even for 
grown men, whom the Stirns of the world regard malignly, the 
majesty of law protects their ears, and the merciful fore-thought of 
nature deprived their remote ancestors of the privilege of entailing 
tails upon them. Had it been otherwise — considering what handles 
tails would have given to the oppressor, how many traps envy would 
have laid for them, how often they must have been scratched and 
mutilated by the briars of life, how many good excuses would have 
been found for loppiDg, docking, and trimming them — I fear that 
only the lap-dogs of Fortune would have gone to the grave tail- 
whole. 



CHAPTER. ,U1. 

The card-table was set out in the drawing-room at Hazeiacan Hall; 
though the little party were still lingering in the deep receas of the 
large bay window — which (in itself of dimensions that would havfi 
swallowed up a moderate-sized London parlour) held the great round 
tea-table, with all appliances and means to boot — for the beautiful 
summer moon shed on the sward so silvery a lustre, and the trees cast 
so quiet a shadow, and the flowers and new-mown hay sent up so 
grateful a perfume, that, to close the windows, draw the curtains, 
and call for other lights than those of heaven, would have been an 
abuse of the prose of life which even Captain Barnabas, who regarded 
whist as the business of town and the holiday of the country, shrank 
from suggesting. Without, the scene, beheld by the clear moonlight. 



42 MY NOVEL; Oil, 

had the beauty peculiar to the garden-ground round tnose old- 
fashioned country residences which, though a little modernised, still 
preserve their original character : the velvet lawn, studded with 
large plots of flowers, shaded and scented— here, to the left, by lilacs, 
laburnums, and rich seringas— there, to the right, giving glimpses, 
over low-clipped yews, of a green bowling alley, with the white 
columns of a summer-house built after the Dutch taste, in the reign 
of William III. ; and in front — stealing away under covert of those 
stil cedars, into the wilder landscape of the well-wooded undulating 
paiji. Within, viewed by the placid glimmer of the moon, the scene 
was no less characteristic of the_ abodes of that race which has no 
parallel in other lands, and which, alas ! is somewhat losing its 
native idiosyncrasies in this— the stout country gentleman, not the 
fine gentleman of the country — the country gentleman somewhat 
softened and civilised from the mere sportsman or farmer, but still 
plain and homely, relinquishing the old hall for the drawing-room, 
and with books not three months old on his table, instead of Fox's 
Martyrs and Baker's Chronicle — yet _ still retaining many a sacred old 
prejudice, that, like the knots in his native oak, rather adds to the 
ornament of the grain than takes from the strength of the tree. 
Opposite to the window, the high chimney-piece rose to the heavy 
cornice of the ceiling, with dark pannels glistening against the 
moonlight. The broad and rather clumsy chintz sofas and settees of 
the reign of George III., contrasted at intervals with the tall-backed 
chairs of a far more distant generation, when ladies in fardingales 
and gentlemen in trunk hose seem never to have indulged in hori- 
zontal positions. The walls, of shining wainscot, were thickly 
covered, chiefly with family pictures; though now and then some 
Dutch fair, or battle-piece, showed that a former proprietor had been 
. ess exclusive in his taste for the arts. The pianoforte stood open 
near the fire-place ; a long dwarf bookcase, at the far end, added its 
sober smile to the room. That bookcase contained what was called 
"The Lady's Library," a collection commenced by the Squire's 
grandmother, of pious memory, and completed by his mother, who 
had more taste for the lighter letters, with but little addition from 
(lie bibliomaniac tendencies of the present Mrs. Hazeldean, who, 
being no great reader, contented herself with subscribing to the 
Book Club. In this feminine Bodleian, the sermons collected b) 
Mrs. Hazeldean, the grandmother, stood cheek -by-jowl beside the 
novels purchased by Mrs. Hazeldean, the mother. 

" Mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho '." 

But, to be sure, the novels, in spite of very inflammatory titles, such as 
"Fatal Sensibdity," "Errors of the Heart," &c, were so harmless 
that I doubt if the sermons could have had much to say against their 
next-door neighbours — and that is all that can be expected by the 
best of us. 

A parrot dozing on his perch — some gold-fish fast asleep in then- 
glass bowl— two or three dogs on the rug, and Flimsey, Miss 
Jemima's spaniel, curled into a ball on the softest sofa — Mrs. Hazel- 
dean's work -table rather in disorder, as if it had been lately used— the 



VARIETIES m ENGLISH Utl.. 43 

St. James's Chronicle dangling down from a little tripod near the 
Squire's arm-cliair — a high screen of silt and stamped leather fencing 
off the card-table : all these, dispersed about a room large enough to hold 
them all and not seem crowded, offered many a pleasant resting-place 
for the eye, when it turned from the world of nature to the home ol 
man. 

But see, Captain Barnabas, fortified by his fourth cup of tea, has 
at length summoned courage to whisper to Mrs. Hazeldean, " Don't 
you think the Parson will be impatient for his rubber?" Mrs. 
Hazeldean glanced at the Parson and smiled ; but she gave the signal 
to the Captain, and the bell was rung, lights were brought in, the 
curtains let down ; in a few rnoments more, the group had collected 
round the card-table. The best of us are but human — that is not 
a new truth, I confess, but yet people forget it every day of their 
lives — and I dare say tkere are many who are charitably thinking at 
this very moment, that my Parson ought not to be playing at whist. 
AH I can say to those rigid disciplinarians is, " Every man has his 
favourite sin: whist was Parson Dale's !— ladies and gentlemen, 
what is yours ?" In truth, I must not set up my poor parson nowa- 
days, as a pattern parson — it is enough to have one pattern in a 
village no bigger than Hazeldean, and we all know that Lenny Pair- 
field has bespoken that place, and got the patronage of the stocks for 
his emoluments ! Parson Dale was ordained, not indeed so very long 
ago, but still at a time when churchmen took it a great deal more 
easily than they do now. The elderly, parson of that day played his 
rubber as a matter of course, the middle-aged parson was sometimes 
seen riding to cover (I knew a schoolmaster, a doctor of divinity, and 
an excellent man, whose pupils were chiefly taken Irorn the highest 
families in England, who hunted regularly three times ;i-week during 
the season), and the young parson would often shig a capital song — 
not composed by David — and join in those rotatory dances, which 
certainly David never danced before the ark. 

Does it need so long an exordium to excuse thee, poor Parson 
Dale, for turnhig up that ace of spades with so triumphant a smile at 
thy partner ? I must own that nothing which could well add to the 
Parson's offence was wanting. In the first place, he did not play 
charitably, and merely to oblige other people. He delighted in the 
game — he rejoiced in the game— his whole heart was in the game — 
neither was he indifferent to the mammon of the thing, as a Christian 
pastor ought to have been. He looked very sad when he took his 
shillings out of his purse, and exceedingly pleased when he put the 
shillings that had just before belonged to other people into it. Finally, 
by one of those arrangements common with married people, who play 
at the same table, Mr. and Mrs. Hazeldean were invariably partners, 
and no two people could play worse ; while Captain Barnabas, who 
had played at Graham's with honour and profit, necessarily became 
partner to Parson Dale, who himself played a good, steady, parsonic 
game. _ So that, in strict truth, it was hardly fair play— it was almost 
swindling — the combination of these two great dons against that in- 
nocent married couple ! Mr. Dale, it is true, was aware of this 
disproportion of force, and had often proposed, cither to chauge 



fc* MY XOVEL; OK, 

partners or to give odds— propositions always scornfully scouted bv 
the Squire and his lady, so that the Parson was obliged to pocket his 
conscience, together with the ten points which made his average 
winnings. 

The strangest thing in the world is the different way in which wlust 
affects the temper. It is no test of temper, as some pretend— not at 
all ! The best-tempered peop.e in the world grow snappish at whist ; 
and I have seen the most testy and peevish in the ordinary affairs ol 
life bear their losses with the stoicism of Epictetus. This was notably 
manifested in the contrast between the present adversaries of the 
Hall and the Rectory. The Squire, who was esteemed as choleric a 
gentleman as most in the county, was the best-humoured fellow you 
could imagine when you set him down to whist opposite 1he sunny 
face of Ids wife. You never heard one of those incorrigible blunderers 
scold each other ; on the contrary, they only laughed when they 
threw away the game, with four by honours in their hands. The 
utmost that was ever said was a " Well, Harry, that was the oddest 
trump of yours. Ho — ho — ho ! " or " Bless me, Hazeldean — why, 
they made three tricks in clubs, and you had the ace in your hand all 
the time ! Ha — ha — ha ! " 

Upon which occasions Captain Barnabas, with great good humour, 
always echoed both the Squire's Ho — ho — ho ! and Mrs. Hazeldean's 
Ha — ha — ha. 

Not so the Parson. He had so keen and sportsmanlike an interest 
in the game, that even Ins adversaries' mistakes ruffled him. And 
you would hear him, with elevated voice and agitated gestures, laying 
down the law, quoting Hoyle, appealing to all the powers of memory 
and. common sense against the very delinquencies by which he was 
enriched — a waste of eloquence that always heightened the hilarity 
of Mr. and Mrs. Hazeldean. While these four were thus engaged, 
Mrs. Dale, who had come with her husband despite her headache, 
sate on the sofa beside Miss Jemima, or rather beside ]\1 iss Jemima's 
Flimsey, which had already secured the centre of the sofa, and snarled 
at the very idea of being disturbed. And Master Frank — at a table 
by himself — was employed sometimes in looking at his pumps, and 
sometimes at Gilray's Caricatures, which his mother had provided for 
his intellectual requirements. Mrs. Dale, in her heart, liked Miss 
Jemima better than Mrs. Hazeldean, of whom she was rather in awe, 
notwithstanding they had been little girls together, and occasionally 
still called each other Harry and Carry. But those tender dhninutives 
oclonged to the "Dear" genus, and were rarely employed by the 
.adies, except at times when— had they been little girls still, and the 
governess out of the way, they would have slapped and pinched each 
other. Mrs. Dale was still a very pretty woman, as Mrs. Hazeldean 
was still a very fine woman. Mrs. Dale pamted in water colours and 
*ang, and made card-racks and pen-holders, and was called an "elegant 
accomplished woman." Mrs. Hazeldean cast up tke Squire's accounts' 
wrote the best part of his letters, kept a large establishment in 
excellent order, and was called " a clever, sensible woman." Mrs 
Dale had headaches and nerves, Mrs. Hazeldean had neither nerves 
nor headaches. Mrs. Dale said, " Harry had no real harm in her but 



\AU.1ETL£S IN ENGLISH LIFE. 46 

was certainly very masculine." Mrs. Hazeldean said, " Carry would 
be a good creature but for her airs and graces." Mrs. Dale said, 
Mrs. Hazeldean was "just made to be a country squire's lady." 
Mrs. Hazeldean said, "Mrs. Dale was the last person in tlie world 
who ought to have been a parson's wife." Carry, when she spoke o^ 
Harry to a third person, said, " Dear Mrs. Hazeldean." Harry, when, 
she referred incidentally to Carry, said, "Poor Mrs. Dale." And 
now the reader knows why Mrs. Hazeldean called Mrs. Dale "poor," 
at least as well as I do. For, after all, the word belonged to that 
class in the female vocabulary which may be called " obscure signi- 
ficants," resembling the Konx Ompax, which hath so puzzled the 
inquirers into the Eleusinian Mysteries : the application is rather to 
be illustrated than the meaning to be exactly explained. 

" That's really a sweet little dog of yours, Jemima," said Mrs. 
Dale, who was embroidering the word Caroline on the border of a 
cambric pocket-handkerchief, but edging a little farther off, as she 
added, "he'll not bite, will he?" — "Dear me, no!" said Miss 
Jemima • but (she added in a confidential whisper) " don't say he— 
'tis a lady dog ! " " Oh," said Mrs. Dale, edging off still farther, as 
if that confession of the creature's sex did not serve to allay her 
apprehensions — " Oh, then, you carry your aversion to the gentlemen 
even to lap-dogs — that is being consistent, indeed, Jemima ! " 

Miss Jemima.— I had a gentleman dog once — a pug ! — pugs are 
getting very scarce now. — I thought he was so fond of me — he 
snapped at every one else ; the battles I fought for him ! Well, will 
you Delieve — I had been staying with my friend Miss Smilecox at 
Cheltenham. Knowing that William is so hasty, and his boots are so 
thick, I trembled to think what a kick might do. So, on coming here, 
I left Buff — that was his name — with Miss Smilecox. (A pause.) 

Mrs. Dale (looking up languidly). — Well, my love? 

Miss Jemima. — Will you believe it, I say, when I returned to 
Cheltenham, only three months afterwards, Miss Smilecox had 
seduced his affections from me, and the ungrateful creature did not 
even know me again. A pug, too — yet people say pugs are faith- 
ful ! ! ! I am sure they ought to be, nasty things. I have never had 
a gentleman dog since — they are all alike, believe me, heartless, selfish 
creatures. 

Mrs. Dale. — Pugs ? I dare say they are ! 

Miss Jemima (with spirit). — Men ! — I told you it was a gentleman 
dog! 

Mrs. Dale (apologetically). — True, my love, but the whole thing 
was so mixed up ! 

Miss Jemima. — You saw that cold-blooded case of Breach of Pro- 
mise of Marriage in the papers — an old wretch, too, of sixty-four. 
No age makes them a bit better. And when one thinks that the end 
of all flesh is approaching, and that 

Mrs. Dale (quickly, for she prefers Miss Jemima's other hobby 
to that black one upon which she is preparing to precede the bier of 
the universe). — Yes, my love, we'll avoid, that subject, if you please. 
Mr. Dale has his own opinions, and it becomes me, you know, as a 
parson's wife (said smilingly : Mrs. Dale has as pretty a dimple aa 



d-0 Ml NOVEL; Or,, 

any of Miss Jemima's, and makes more of that one than Miss Jemima 
of three), to agree with him — that is in theology. 

Miss Jemima (earnestly).— But the thing is so clear, if you will 

bnt look into . 

Mrs. Bale (putting her hand on Miss Jemima's lips playfully). — 
Not a word more. Pray, what do you think of the Squire's tenant 
at the Casino, Signor Eiccabocca? An interesting creature, is 
not he ? . . 

Miss Jemima. — Interesting ! not to me. Interesting ? Why is 
lie interesting ? 

Mrs. Dale is silent, and turns her handkerchief in her pretty Utile 
white hands, appearing to contemplate the 11. in Caroline. 

Miss Jemima (half pettishly, half coaxingly). — "Why is he inter- 
esting ? I scarcely ever looked at him ; they say he smokes, and 
never eats. Ugly, too ! 

Mrs. Dale. — Ugly — no. A fine head — very like Dante's — but 
what is beauty ? 

Miss Jemima. — Very true: what is it, indeed? Yes, as you say, 
1 think there is something interesting about him ; he looks melan- 
choly, but that may be because he is poor. 

Mks. Dale. — It is astonishing how little one feels poverty 
when one loves. Charles and I were very poor once — before the 
Squire (Mrs. Dale paused, looked towards the Squire, and mur- 
mured a blessing, the warmth of which brought tears into her eyes). 
Yes (she added, after a pause), we were very poor, hut we were happy 
even then— more thanks to Charles than to me (and tears from a new 
source again dimmed those quick, lively eyes, as the little woman 
gazed fondly on her husband, whose brows were knit into a black 
frown over a bad hand). 

Miss Jemima— It is only those horrid men who think of money as 
a source of happiness. I should be the last person to esteem a gen- 
tleman less because he was poor. 

Mrs Dale. — I wonder the Squire does not ask Signor Eiccabocca 
here more often. Such an acquisition tee find him ! 

The Squire's voice from the card-table. — " Whom ought I to ask 
more often, Mrs. Dale ?" 

Parson's voice, impatiently. — " Come — come— come, Squire : play 
to my queen of diamonds — do !" 
Squire. — There, I trump it — pick up the trick, Mrs. H. 
Parson.— Stop ! stop! tramp my diamond ? 
The Captain (solemnly). — Trick turned; play on, Squire. 
Squire. — The king of diamonds. 

Mrs. Hazeldean. — Lord! Hazeldean; why, that's the most bare- 
faced revoke — ha — ha — ha ! trump the queen of diamonds and play 
out the king ! well I never — ha — ha — ha ! 
Captain Barnabas (in tenor). — Ha, ha, ha! 
Squire. — Ho — ho — ho ! bless my soul ; ho, ho, ho ! 
Captain Barnabas (in base). — Ho — ho— ho! 
Parson's voice raised, but drowned by the laughter of his adver- 
saries and the firm, clear tone of Captain Barnabas - " Three to eui 
score ! — game!" 



\AEIETIES rjST ENGLISH LIT2. ¥( 

Squire (wiping his eyes). — No help for it, Harry — deal lor me! 
Whom ought I to ask, Mrs. Dale? (waxing angry). _ First time 1 
ever heard the hospitality of Hazeldean called in question ! 

Mrs. Dale. — My dear sir, I beg a thousand pardons, but listeners 
— you know the proverb. 

Squire (growling like a bear). — I hear nothing but proverbs ever 
since we had that Mounseer among us. Please to speak plainly, ma'am. 

Mrs. Dale (sliding into a little temper at being thus roughly ac- 
costed). — It was of Mounseer, as you call him, that I spoke, Mr. 
Hazeldean. 

Squire. — What! *Rickeybockey ? 

Mrs. Dale (attempting the pure Italian accentuation). — Signor 
Riccabocca. 

Parson (slapping his cards on the table in despair). — Are we play- 
ing at whist, or are we not ? 

The Squire, who is fourth player, drops the king to Captain Higgin- 
botham's lead of the ace of hearts. Now the Captain has left queen, 
knave, and two other hearts— four trumps to the queen and nothing 
to win a trick with in the two other suits. This hand is therefore 
precisely one of those in which, especially after the fall of that king 
of hearts in the adversary's hand, it becomes a matter of reasonable 
doubt whether to lead trumps or not. The Captain hesitates, and 
not liking to play out his good hearts with the certainty of their 
being trumped by the Squire, nor, on the other hand, liking to open 
the other suits, in which he has not a card that can assist his partner, 
resolves, as becomes a military man, in such dilemma, to make a bold 
push and lead out trumps, in the chance of finding his partner strong, 
and so bringing in his long suit. 

Squire (taking advantage of the much meditating pause made by 
the Captain). — Mrs. Dale, it is not my fault. I have asked Bickev- 
boekey — time out of mind. But I suppose I am not fine enough foi 
those foreign chaps. He'll not come — that's all I know. 

Parson (aghast at seeing the Captain play out trumps, of which he, 
Mr. Dale, has only two, wherewith he expects to ruff the suit of 
spades of which he has only one — the cards all falling in suits — while 
he has not a single other chance of a trick in his hand). — Really, 
Squire, we had better give up playing if you put out my partner m 
this extraordinary way — jabber — jabber — jabber ! 

Squire. — Wea, we must be good children, Harry. What ! — trumps, 
Barney ? Thank ye for that ! And the Squire might well be gratefrJ, 
for the unfortunate adversary has led up to ace kinjj knave — with 
two other trumps. _ Squire takes the Parson's ten -with his knave, 
and plays put ace king; then, having cleared all the trumps except 
the Captain's queen and his own remaining two, leads off tierce major 
in that very suit of spades of which the Parson has only one — and the 
Captain, indeed, but two — forces out the Captain's queen, and wins 
the game in a canter. 

Parson (with a look at the Captain which might have become the 
awful brows of Jove, when about to thunder). — That, I suppose, i3 
the new-fashioned London play ! In my time the rule was. " First 
save the game, then try to win it " 



43 MY NOVEL; OK, 

Captain. — Could not save it, sir. 

Parson (exploding). — Not save it! — two ruffs in my own hand- 
two tricks certain till you took them out ! Monstrous ! _ The rashest 
trump, — Seizes the cards — spreads them on the table, lip quivering, 
hands trembling — tries to show how five tricks could have been 
gained — (N.B. It is short whist, which Captain Barnabas had intro- 
duced at the Hall) can't make out more than four — Captain smiles 
triumphantly — Parson in a passion, and not at all convinced, mixes 
all the cards together again, and falling back in his chair, groans, 
with tears in his voice—" The crudest trump ! the most wanton 
cruelty ! " 

The liazeldeans in chorus. — " Ho— ho— ho ! Ha— ha — ha ! " 

The Captain, who does not laugh this time, and whose turn it is to 
deal, shuffles the cards for the conquering game of the rubber with as 
much caution and prolixity as Fabius might have employed in posting 
his men. The Squire gets up to stretch Ids legs, and, the insinuation 
against his hospitality recurring to his thoughts, calls out to his wife 
— " Write to Hickeybockey to-morrow yourself, Harry, and ask him 
to come and spend two or three days here. There, Mrs. Dale, you 
hear me?" 

" Yes," said Mrs. Dale, putting her hands to her ears in implied 
rebuke at the loudness ot the Squire's tone. " My dear sir, do re- 
member that I'm a sad nervous creature." 

" Beg pardon," muttered Mr. Hazeldean, turning to his son, who, 
having got tired of the caricatures, had fished out for himself the 
great folio County History, which was the only book in the library 
that the Squire much valued, and which he usually kept under lock 
and key, in his study, together with the field-books and steward's 
accounts, but which he had reluctantly taken into the drawing-room 
that day, in order to oblige Captain Higginbotham. For the Higgin- 
bothams— an old Saxon family, as the name evidently denotes- had 
once possessed lands in that very county. And the Captain, during 
his visits to Hazeldean Hall, was regularly in the habit of asking to 
look into the County History, for the purpose of refreshing his eyes, 
and renovating his sense of ancestral dignity, with the following 
paragraph therein :— " To the left of the village of Dundcr and plea- 
santly situated in a hollow, lies Botham Hall, the residence of the 
ancient iamdy of Higginbotham, as it is now commonly called Yet 
it appears by the county rolls, and sundry old deeds, that the family 
formerly styled itself Higges, till the Manor House lying in Botham 



they gradually assumed the appellation of Higges-in-Botham and in 
process of time, yielding to the corruptions Vf the vulvar lii-mb. 
botham." ° ' OD 

" What, Frank ! my County History ! " cried the Squire. " Mrs H 
he has got my County History !" '' 

" Well, Hazeldean, it is time he should know something about the 
County." = 

" Ay, and History too," said Mrs. Dale, malevolentlv, for the little 
temper was by no means blown over. 

Frank— I'll not hurt it, I assure you, sir. But I'm very mvrh 
interested just at present. J 



VAKIET1ES IX ENGLISH LLFJS. 49 

The Captain (putting down tlic cards to cut).— You've got hold of 
that passage about Botham Hall, page 700, eh ? 

Frank.— -No ; I was trying to make out how far it is to Mr. I/e-aslie's 
place, Rood Hall. Do you know, mother ? 

Mrs. Hazeldean — I can't say I do. The Leslies don't mix with 
the county ; and Hood lies very much out of the way. 

Frank.— "Why don't they mix with the county ? 

Mrs. Hazeldean.— I believe they are poor, and therefore I sup- 
pose they are proud : they are an old family. 

Parson (thrumming on the table with great impatience).— Old 
fiddledee !— talking of old families when the cards have been shuffled 
this half-hour ? 

Captain Barnabas. — Will you cut for your partner, ma'am ? 

Squire (who has been listening to Frank's inquiries with a musing 
air). — Why do you want to know the distance to Rood Hall? 

Frank (rather hesitatingly). — Because Randal Leslie is there for 
the holidays, sir. 

Parson. — Your wife has cut for you, Mr. Hazeldean. I don't 
think it was quite fan- ; and my partner has turned up a deuce — 
deuce of hearts. Please to come and play, if you mean to play. 

The Squire returns to the table, and in a few minutes the game is 
decided by a dexterous finesse of the Captain against the Hazeldeans. 
The clock strikes ten ; the servants enter with a tray ; the Squire 
counts up Ms own and his wife's losings ; and the Captain and Parson 
divide sixteen shillings between them. 

Squire. — There, Parson, I hope now you'll be in a better humour. 
You win enough out of us to set up a coach-and-four. 

" Tut ! " muttered the Parson ; " at the end of the year, I'm not a 
penny the richer for it all." 

And, indeed, monstrous as that assertion seemed, it was perfectly 
true, for the Parson portioned out his gains into three divisions. 
One-third he gave to Mrs. Dale, for her own special pocket-money ; 
what became of the second third he never owned even to his better 
half ; but certain it was, that every time the Parson won seven-and- 
sixpence, half-a-crown, winch nobody could account for, found its way 
to the poor-box ; while the remaining third the Parson, it is true, 
openly and avowedly retained ; but I have no manner of doubt that, 
at the year's end, it got to the poor quite as safely as if it had been 
put into the box. 

The party had now gathered round the tray, and were helping them- 
selves to wine and water, or wine without water — except Frank, who 
still remained poring over the map in the County History, with his 
head leaning on his hands, and his fingers plunged in his hair. 

" Frank," said Mrs. Hazeldean, " I never saw you so studious 
before." 

Frank started up and coloured, as if ashamed of being accused of 
too much study in anything. 

The Squire (with a little embarrassment in his voice). — Pray 
Frank, what do you know of Randal Leslie ? 

" Why, sir, he is at Eaton." 

" What sort of a boy is he ? " asked Mrs. Haaeldeaa. 

tol. ;, e 



jfl »tr .novel; ok, 

Frank hesitated, as if reflecting, and then answered,—" They sr.y hi 
is the cleverest boy in the school. But then he saps-" 

" In other words," said Mr. Dale, with proper parsonic gravity 
" he understands that he was sent to school to learn his lessons, anil 
he learns them. You call that sapping,— I call it doing his duty. 
But, pray, who and what is this Randal Leslie, that you look so dis , 
composed, Squire ? " 

" Who and what is he ? " repeated the Squire, m a low growl 
"Why, you know, Mr. Audley Egerton married Miss Leslie, the 
'Teat heiress ; and this boy is a relation of hers. I may say," added 
the Squire, "that he is a near relation of mine, for his grandmother 
was a Hazeldcan. But all I know about the Leslies is, that Mr. 
Egerton, as I am told, having no children of his own, took up young 
Randal (when his wife died, poor woman), pays for his schooling, and 
has, I suppose, adopted the boy as his heir. Quite welcome. Frank 
and I want nothing from Mr. Audley Egerton, thank Heaven! " 

" I can well believe in your brother's generosity to his wife's kin- 
dred," said the Parson, sturdily, " for I am sure Mr. Egerton is a man 
of strong feeling." 

" What the deuce do you know about Mr. Egerton? I don't sup- 
pose you could ever have even spoken to him." 

" Yes," said the Parson, colouring up, and looking confused, " I had 
some conversation witli him once;" and observing the Squire's sur- 
prise, he added, — "when I was curale at Lansmere, and about a 
painful business connected with the family of one of my parish- 
ioners." 

" Oh ! one of your parishioners at Lansmere, — one of the con- 
stituents Mr. Audley Egerton threw over, after all the pains I had 
taken to get him his seat. Rather odd you should never have men- 
tioned this before, Mr. Dale ! " 

" My dear sir," said the Parson, sinking his voice, and in a mild 
tone of conciliatory expostulation, "you are so irritable whenever 
Mr. Egerton's name is mentioned at all." 

'Irritable!" exclaimed the Squire, whose wrath had long been 



xi a J. vo> ux\s • v^.v/-.^j.iiAu\A uiiu Kjij_i.LAi Vj w nuou Yviatii uau. luxig uccii 

simmering, and now fairly boiled over. " Irritable, sir !— I should 

think so : a man for whom I stood godfather at the hustings, Mr 

Dale !— a man for whose sake I was called a ' prize ox,' Mr. Dale !— 

a man for whom I was hissed in a market-place, Mr. Dale !— a man 

for whom I was shot at, in cold blood, by an officer in his Majest/s 

service, who lodged a ball m my right shoulder, Mr. Dale !— a man 

who had the ingratitude, after all this, to turn his back on the landed 

interest ,— to deny that there was any agricultural distress in a year 

which broke three ol the best larmers I ever had, Mr. Dale '—a man, 

sir, who made a speech on the Currency, which was complimented by 

Ricardo, a Jew ! Good Heavens ! a pretty parson you are, to stand 

up for a fellow complimented by a Jew ! Nice ideas you must have 

of Christianity. Irritable, sir ! " now fairly roared the Squire adding 

to the thunder of his voice the cloud of a brow which evinced a 

menacing ferocity that might have done honour to Bussy d'Ambois 

or Fighting Fitzgerald. Sir, if that man had not been my ow; 

half-brother, I'd have called him out. I have stood my ground befor 



own 
fora 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH MFS. 52 

now. I have had a ball in my right shoulder. Sir, I'd have called 
nim out." 

'" Mr. Hazeldean ! — Mr. Hazeldean ! I'm shocked at you," cried the 
Parson ; and, putting his lips close to the Squire's ear, he went on in a 
whisper, — " What an example to your son ! You'll have him fighting 
duels one of these days, and nobody to blame but yourself." 

This warning cooled Mr. Hazeldean ; and muttering, " Why the 
deuce did you set me off ? " he fell back into his chair, and began to 
fan himself with his pocket-handkerchief. 

The Parson skilfully and remorselessly pursued the advantage he 
had gained. " And now, that you may have it in your power to show 
civility and kindness to a boy whom Mr. Egerton has taken up, out 
of respect to his wife's memory — a kinsman, you say, of you_- own, — 
and who has never offended you, — a boy whose diligence in his studies 
proves him to be an excellent companion to your son — Prank (here 
the Parson raised his voice), I suppose yon would like to call on 
young Leslie, as you were studying the county map so attentively ? " 

" Why, yes," answered Frank, rather timidly, " if my father does 
not object to it. Leslie has been very kind to me, though he is in 
the sixth form, and, indeed, almost the head of the school." 

"Ah!" said Mrs. Hazeldean, "one studious boy has a fellow- 
feeling for another ; and though you enjoy your holidays, Prank, I am 
sure you read hard at school." 

Mrs. Dale opened her eyes very wide, and stared in astonishment. 

Mrs. Hazeldean retorted that look with great animation. " Yes, 
Carry," said she, tossing her head, " though you may not think Frank 
clever, his masters find him so. He got a prize last half. That beau- 
tiful book, Frank — hold up your head, my love,— what did you get it 
for ? " 

Frank (reluctantly). — Verses, ma'am. 

Mas. Hazeldean (with triumph). — Verses! — there, Carrj. 
verses ! 

Frank (in a hurried tone). — Yes, but Leslie wrote them for me. 

Mrs. Hazeldean (recoiling). — Frank ! a prize for what another 
did for you— that was mean. 

Frank (ingenuously). — You can't be more ashamed, mother, thin 
I was when they gave me the prize. 

Mrs. Dale (though previously provoked at being snubbed by 
Harry, now showing the triumph of generosity over temper). — I beg 
your pardon, Frank. Your mother must be as proud ot that shame 
as she was of the prize. 

Mrs. Hazeldean puts her arm round Frank's neck, smiles beam- 
ingly on Mrs. Dale, and converses with her son in a low tone about 
Randal Leslie. Miss Jemima now approached Carry, and said in an 
"aside," — "But we are forgetting poor Mr. Biccabocca. Mrs. 
Hazeldean, though the dearest creature in the world, has such a 
blunt way of inviting people — don't you think if you were to say a 
word to him, Carry ?" 

Mrs. Dale (kindly, as she wraps her shawl round her7. — Suppose 
you write the note yourself. Meanwhile, I shall see him, no doubt. 

Parson (putting his hand on the Squire's shoulder). — You forpit'a 



02 mi fluvxi •; or.. 

my impertinence, my kind friend. TV e parroai, you know, are apt 
to take strange liberties, -when we honour and love folks, as I do. 

" Pish," said the Squire ; but his hearty smile came to his lips in 
spite of himself. — "You always get your own way, and I suppo?* 
Frank must ride over and see this pet of my — " 

"Brother's," quoth the Parson, concluding the sentence in a tore 
which gave to the sweet word so sweet a sound that the Squire would 
not correct the Parson, as he had been about to correct himself. 

Mr. Dale moved on;_ but as he passed Captain Barnabas, the 
benignant character of his countenance changed sadly. 

"The crudest trump, Captain Higginbotham ! " said he sternly, 
unci stalked by — majestic. 

The night was so fine that the Parson and his wife, as they walked 
home, wade a little detour through the shrubbery. 

Miis. Dale. — I think I have done a good piece of work to-night. 
Pakson (rousing himself from a reverie). — Have you, Carry? — it 
will be a very pretty handkerchief. 

Mrs. Dale. — Handkerchief! — nonsense, dear. Don't you think 
it would be a very happy thing for both if Jemima and Sigiior liicca- 
bocca could be brought together? 
Paeson. — Brought, together ! 

Ales. Dale. — You do snap up one so, my dear — I me:.n if I could 
make a match of it. 

Parson — I think Riccabocca is a match already, not only for 
Jemima, but yourself into the bargain. 

Mrs. Dale (smiling loftily).— Well, we shall fee. Was not 
Jemima's fortune about £4 000 r 

Parson (dreamily, for he is relapsing fet into his intemiplcd 
reverie).— Ay— ay— i dare say. 

Mks. Dale.— And she must have saved ! I dare sav it is nearly 
4.0,000 by this time;— ch! Charles dear, vou really are so— good 
gracious, what's that ! 

As Mrs. Dale made this exclamation, they had just emerged from 
tlie shrubbery into the village green. 

Parson.— What's what r 
^ Mrs Dale (pinching her huuband's arm very niooin^lv) —That 
Hung— there — there. " ° J 

PARSON.-Only the new stocks, Carry; I don't wonder they 
frighten you, lor you are a very sensible woman. I only wish the" 
would inghten the binurc. J 



CHAPTER, XH1. 

Supposed to he a letter from Mrs. Hazeldean to A 7?-Vw"W,v, A/7 
The Casino; but edited, and indeed composed, ' tym£ j£m 
liazeldeau. 

"Dear, Sir,— To a feeling heart it must always be minfnl to 
give pain to another, and (though I am sure unconsciously) vou have 
giveu the greatest pain to poor Mi-. Hazeldean and myself indeed to 



VAB1ET1ES IN ENGLISH x4fE. 53 

all our little circle, in so cruelly refusing our attempts to become 
better acquainted with a gentleman we so highly esteem. Do, pray, 
dear sir, make us the amende honorable, and give us the pleasure of 
your company for a few days at the Hall ! May we expect you 
Saturday next ? — our dinner hour is six o'clock. 
" With the best compliments of Mr. and Miss Jemima Hazeldean, 
" Believe me, my dear Sir, yours truly, 

" H. H. 
*' Hazeldean Hail." 

Miss Jemima having carefully sealed this note, winch Mrs. Hazel- 
dean had very willingly deputed her to write, took it herself into the 
stable-yard, in order to give the groom proper instructions to wait 
for an answer. But while she was speaking to the man, Frank, 
equipped for riding with more thau his usual dandyism, came into 
the yard, calling for Ins pony in a loud voice, and singling out the 
very groom whom Miss Jemima was addressing — for, indeed, he was 
the smartest of all in the Squire's stables — told him to saddle the 
grey pad, and accompany the pony. 

' No, Frank," said Miss Jemima, " you can't have George ; your 
father wants him to go on a message — you can take Mat." 

" Mat, indeed ! " said Frank, grumbling with some reason ; for 
Mat was a surly old fellow, who tied a most indefensible neckcloth, 
and always contrived to have a great patch in his boots ; — besides, 
he called Frank "Master," and obstinately refused to trot down 
hill; — "Mat, indeed !— let Mat take the message, and George go 
with me." 

But Miss Jemima had also her reasons for rejecting Mat. Mat's foible 
was not servility, and he always showed true English independence in 
all houses where he was not invited to take his ale in the servants' 
hall. Mat might offend Signor Riccabocca, and spoil all. An 
animated altercation ensued, in the midst of which the Squire and 
his wife entered the yard, with the intention of driving in the con- 
jugal gig to the market town. The matter was referred to the 
natural umpire by both the contending parties. 

The Squire looked with great contempt on his son. " And what 
do you want a groom at all for ? Are you afraid of tumbling off the 
pony ? " 

Frank. — No, sir ; but I like to go as a gentleman, when I pay a 
visit to a gentleman ! 

Squire (in high wrath). — You precious puppy ! 1 think I'm as 
good a gentlemanas you any day, and I should like to know when 
you ever saw me ride to call on a neighbour with a fellow jingling at 
my heels, like that upstart Ned Spankie, whose father kept a cotton- 
mill. First time I ever heard of a Hazeldean thinking a livery-coat 
was necessary to prove fas gentility ! 

Mrs. Hazeldean (observing Frank colouring, and about to reply). 
— Hush, Frank, never answer your father, — and you are going to call 
on Mr. Leslie ? 

" Yes, ma'am, and I am very much obliged to my father for letting 
me," said Frank, taking the Squire's hand. 



54 Ml' SOYEL; Oil, 

" Well, but Frank," continued Mrs. Hazeldean, "I think you heard 
that the Leslies were very poor." 

Frank. — Eh, mother ? 

Mrs. Hazeldean. — And would you run the chance of wounding 
the pride of a gentleman, as well born as yourself, by affecting any 
show of being richer than he is ? 

Squire (with great admiration). — Harry, I'd give ten pounds to 
have said that ! 

Frank (leaving the Squire's hand to take his mother's). — You're 
quite right, mother — nothing could be more snobbish! 

Squire. — Give us your fist, too, sir ; you'll be a chip of the old 
block, after all. 

Frank smiled and walked off to his pony. 

Mrs. Hazeldean (to Miss Jemima). — Is that the note you were 
to write for me ? 

Miss Jemima. — Yes ; I supposed you did not care about seeing it, 
so I have sealed it, and aiven it to George. 

Mrs. Hazeldean. — But Frank will pass close by the Casino on 
his way to the Leslies' It may be more civil if he leaves the note 
himself. 

Miss Jemima (hesitatingly).— Do you Ihink so ? 

Mrs. Hazeldean.— Yes, certainly. Frank— Frank— as you pass 
by the Casino, call on Mr. Biccabocca, give this note, and say we 
shall be heartily glad if he will come. 

Frank nods. 

"Stop a bit" cried the Squire. "If Bickeybockey's at home, 
'tis ten to one if he don't ask you to take a glass of wine ! If he 
does, mind, 'tis worse than asking you to take a turn on the rack. 
Faugh ! you remember, Harry ?— I thought it was all up with me." 

"Yes," cried Mrs. Hazeldean; "for Heaven's sake, not a drop. 
U me, indeed !" 

" Don't talk of it," cried the Squire, making a wry face 

"I'll take care sir!" said Frank, laughing as he disappeared 
witnm the stable, followed by Miss Jemima, who now coaxingly 
makes it up with him, and does not leave off her admonitions tote 
extremely polite to the poor foreign gentleman till Frank gets his 
foot into the stirrup, and the pony, who knows whom he has got to 
deal with, gives a preparatory plunge or two, and then darts out of 
the jtjskL 



^-•UUETIEo !>' ENGLISH LIFE. 53 



BOOK II. 

INITIAL CHAPTER. 

IXFORMIN& CHE HEADER HOW THIS WORK CAME TO HAVE IXITlAi. 

CHAPTERS. 

" There can't be a doubt," said my father, " that to each of the 
main divisions of your work — whether you call them Books or Parts 
— vou should prefix an Initial or Introductory Chapter." 

Pisistratus. — Can't be a doubt, sir ! Why so ? _ 

Mr. Caxton. — Fielding lays it down as an indispensable rule, 
which he supports by his example ; and Fielding was an artisticrJ 
writer, and knew what he was about. 

Pisistratus. — Do you remember any of his reasons, sir ? 

Mr. Caxton. — Why, indeed, Fielding says very justly, that he is 
not bound to assign any reasou ; but he does assign a good many, 
here and there — to find which, I refer you to Tom Jones. I will only 
observe, that one of his reasons, which is unanswerable, runs to the 
effect that thus, in every Part or Book, the reader has the advantage 
of beginning at the fourth or fifth page instead of the first — " a 
matter by no means of trivial consequence," saith Fielding, "to 
persons who read books with no other view than to say they have 
read them — a more general motive to reading than is commonly 
imagined; and from which not only iaw books and good books, 
but the pages of Homer and Virgil, of Swift and Cervantes, 
have been often turned over." There, cried my father triumphantly, 
I will lay a shilling to twopence that I have quoted the very 
words. 

Mrs. Caxton. — Dear me ! that only means skipping : I don't 
see any great advantage in writing a chapter, merely for people to 
skip it. 

Pisistratus. — Neither do I. 

Mr. Caxton (dogmatically). — It is the repose in the picture — 
Fielding calls it " contrast" — (still more dogmatically) I say there 
can't be a aoubt about it. Besides (added my father af+er a pause), 
besides, this usage gives you opportunities to explain what has gone 
before, or to prepare for what's coming ; or, since Fielding contends, 
with great truth, that some learning is necessary for this kind of 
historical composition, it allows you, naturally and easily, the intro- 
duction of light and pleasant ornaments of that nature. At each 
ilight in the terrace, you may give the eye the relief of an urn or a 
statue. Moreover, when so inclined, you create proper pausing 
places for reflection ; and complete by a separate, yet harmonious 
ethical department, the design of a work, which is but a mere Mothej 



b6 MY NOVEL; UA, 

Goose's tale if it does not embrace a general view of the thoughts 
and action's of manidnd. ■ .*.,,< 4 , u. 

Pisistratus. — But then, in these initial chapters, the author 
thrusts himself forward; and just when yon want to get on with 
the dramatis persona, you find yourself lace to face with the poet 

1 " If 

Mr. Caxton. — Pooh ! you can contrive to prevent that ! Imitate 
the chorus of the Greek stage, who fill up the intervals between 
the action by saying what the author would otherwise say in his own 
person. 

Pisistratus (slily).— That's a good idea, sir ; and I have a chorus, 
and a choregus too, already in my eye. 

Mr. Caxton (unsuspectingly).— Alia! you are not so dull a fellow 
as you would make yourself out to be ; and, even if an author did 
thrust himself' forward, what objection is there to that ? It is a mere 
affectation to suppose that a book can come into the world without 
an author. Every child has a father — one father at least, as the great 
Conde says very well in his poem. 

Pisistratus. — The great Conde a poet! — I never heard that 
before. 

Mn. Caxton. — I don't say he was a poet, but he sent a poem to 
Madame de Montansier. Envious critics think that he must have 
paid somebody else to write it ; but there is no reason why a great 
captain should not write a poem ; I don't say a good poem, but a 
poem. I wonder, Roland, if the Duke ever tried Iris hand at " Stanzas 
to Mary," or " Lines to a sleeping babe." 

Captain Roland. — Austin, I'm ashamed of you. Of course, the 
Duke could write poetry if lie pleased— something, I dare say, in the 
way of the great Conde ; that is, something warlike and heroic, I'll 
be bound. Let's hear ! 
Mr. Caxton (reciting) — 

" Telle est du Ciel la loi severe 
Qu'il faut qu'un enfant ait un pure ■ 
On dit meme quelque ibis 
Tel enfant en a jusqu'atrois."* 

Captain Roland (greatly disgusted). Conde write such stuff!— 
I don't- believe it. 

Pisistratus.— I do, and accept the quotation • you and Roland 
shall be joint fathers to my child as well as myself'.' " 

" Tel enfant en a jusqu'a trois." 

Mr. Caxton (solemnly).— I refuse the proffered paternity but so 
far as administering a little wholesome eastigation, now and" then 1 
have no objection to join in the discharge of a father's duty ' 

Pisistratus.— Agreed. Have you anything to say against, the 
infant hitherto ? u 



* Paraphrase : — " That each child has a father 

Is Nature's decree ; 
But, to judge by a rumour, 
Some children have tares. 1 



VARIETIES IN IsNGLlSH LITE. 57 

Mr. Caxton.-— He is in long clothes at present ; let us wait till he 
can walk. 

Blanche.— But pray, whom do you mean for a hero ? — and is Miss 
Jemima your heroine ? 

Captain Roland. — There is some mystery about the— 

Pisisteatus (hastily). Hush, uncle : no letting the cat out of the 
bag yet. Listen all of you ! I left Prank Hazeldean on his way to 
the Casino. 



CHAPTER II. 

" It is a sweet pretty place," thought Frank, as he orjcned the 
gate which led across the fields to the Casino, that smiled down upon 
him with its plaster pilasters. " I wonder, though, that my father, 
who is so particular in general, suffers the carriage-road to be so 
full of holes and weeds. Mounseer does not receive many visits, I 
take it." 

But when Prank got into the ground immediately before the 
house, he saw no cause of complaint as to want of order and repair. 
Nothing could be kept more neatly. Frank was ashamed of the dint 
made by the pony's hoofs in the smooth gravel : he dismounted, tied 
the animal to the wicket, and went on foot towards the glass door in 
front. 

He rang the bell once, twice, but nobody came, for the old woman- 
servant, who was hard of hearing, was far away in the yard, search- 
ing for any eggs which the hen might have scandalously hidden from 
culinary purposes ; and Jackeymo was fishing for the sticklebacks 
and minnows, which were, when caught, to assist the eggs, when 
found, in keeping together the bodies and souls of himself and his 
master. The old woman had been lately put upon board-wages — 
lucky old woman ! Frank rang a third time, and with the impetu- 
osity of his age. A face peeped from the Belvidere on the terrace. 
"Diavolo!" said Dr. Riccabocca to himself. "Young cocks crow 
hard on their own dunghill ; it must be a cock of a high race tc crow 
so loud at another's." 

Therewith he shambled out of the summer-house, and appeared 
suddenly before Frank, in a very wizard-like dressing-robe of black 
serge, a red cap on his head, and a cloud of smoke coming rapidly 
from his lips, as a final consolatory whiff, before he removed the pipe 
from them. Frank had indeed seen the Doctor before, but never in 
so scholastic a costume, and he was a little startled by the apparition 
at his elbow, as he turned round. 

" Signorino" (young gentleman), said the Italian, taking off Ids 
cap with his usual urbanity, " pardon the negligence of my people— 
I am too happy to receive your commands in person." 

" Dr. Rickeybockey ? " stammered Frank, much confused by this 
polite address, and the low, yet stately, bow with which it was accom- 
panied. "I — I have a note from the hall. Mamma — that is, my 
mother — and aunt Jemima beg their best compliments, and hone yon 
will come, sir." 



[5 MY HOVEL; OK, 

The Doctor took the note "with another bow, and, opening the glass 
door, invited Frank to enter. 

The young gentleman, with a schoolboy's usual bluntness, was 
about to say that he was in a hurry, and had rather not ;" but Dr. 
lliccabocca's grand manner awed him, while a glimpse of the hall 
excited his curiosity — so he silently obeyed the invitation. 

The hall, which was of an octagon shape, had been originally 
panelled off into compartments, and in these the Italian had painted 
landscapes, rich with the warm sunny light of his native climate. 
Frank was no judge of the art displayed ; but he was greatly struck 
with the scenes depicted: they were all views of some lake, real or 
imaginary — in all, dark -blue shining waters reflected dark -blue placid 
skies. In one, a flight of steps descended to the lake, and a gay 
group was seen feasting on the margin ; in another, sunset threw its 
rose-hues over a vast villa or palace, backed by Alpine hills, and 
flanked by long arcades of vines, while pleasure-boats skimmed over 
the waves below. Li short, throughout all the eight compartments, 
the scene, though it differed in details, preserved the same general 
character, as if illustrating some favourite locality. The Italian did 
not, however, evince any desire to do the honours of his own art, but, 
preceding Frank across the hall, opened the door of his usual sitting- 
room, and requested him to enter. Frank did so, rather reluctantly, 
and seated himself with unwonted bashfulness on the edge of a chair. 
But here new specimens of the Doctor's handicraft soon riveted atten- 
tion. The room had been originally papered ; but lticcabocca had 
stretched canvas over the walls, and painted thereon sundry satirical 
devices, each separated from the other by scroll-works of fantastic 
arabesques. Here a Cupid was trundling a wheel-barrow full oi 
hearts, which he appeared to be selling to an uadv old fellow, with a 
money-bag in his hand— probably Plutus. There Diogenes might be 
seen walking through a market-place, with his lantern in his hand, hi 
search of an honest man, whilst the children jeered at him, and the 
curs snapped at his heels. In another place, a lion was seen half 
dressed m a fox's hide, while a wolf in a sheep's mask was conversing 
very amicably with a young lamb. Here again might be seen the 
geese stretching out their necks from the Roman Capitol in full 
cackle, while the stout invaders were beheld in the distance running 
off as hard as they could. In short, in all these quaint entablatures 
some pithy sarcasm was symbolically conveyed ; only over the mantel- 
piece was the design graver and more touching It was the fi°Tir" oi 
a man in a pilgrim's garb chained to the earth by small but innumer- 
able ligaments, while a phantom likeness of himself his shadow was 
seen hastening down what seemed an interminable vista • and under- 
neath were written the pathetic words of Horace— 

" Patriae quis exul 

Se quoque fugit?" 

(" What exile from his country can also fly from himself °"1 The 
furniture of the room was extremely simple, and somewhat scantv • 
yet it was arranged so as to impart an air of taste and elegance to 
the room. Even a few plaster busts and statues, though bought but 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIfE. 5'J 

of some humble itinerant, had their classical effect, glistening from 
out stands of flowers that were grouped around them, or backed by 
graceful screen-works formed from twisted osiers, which, by the 
simple contrivance of trays at _ the bottom, filled with earth, served 
for living parasitical plants, with gay flowers contrasting thick ivy 
leaves, ana gave to the whole room the aspect of a bower. 

" May I ask your permission ?" said the Italian, with his finger on 
the seal of the letter. 

" Oh yes," said Prank with naivete. 

Bicoabocca broke the seal, and a slight smile stole over his counte- 
nance. Then he turned a little aside from Frank, shaded his face 
with his hand, and seemed to muse. " Mrs. Hazeldean," said he at 
last, " does me very great honour. I hardly recognise her hand- 
writing, or I should have been more impatient to open the letter." 
The dark eyes were lifted over the spectacles, and went right into 
Frank's unprotected and undiplomatic heart. The doctor raised the 
note, and pointed to the characters with his forefinger. 

" Cousin Jemima's hand," said Frank, as directly as if the question 
had been put to him. 

The Italian smiled. " Mr. Hazeldean has company staying with 
him?" 

" No ; that is, only Barney — the Captain. There's seldom much 
company before the shooting season," added Frank with a slight 
sigh ; " and then, you know, the holidays are over. For my part, 1 
think we ought to break up a month later." 

The Doctor seemed re-assured by the first sentence in Frank's 
reply, and, seating himself at the table, wrote his answer — noi, hastily, 
as weEnglish write, but with care and precision, like one accustomed 
to weigh the nature of words — in that stiff Italian hand, which allows 
the writer so much time to think while he forms his letters. He did 
not, therefore, reply at once to Frank's remark about the holidays, 
but was silent till he had concluded his note, read it three times 
over, sealed it by the taper he slowly lighted, and then, giving it to 
Frank, he said — 

" For your sake, young gentleman, I regret that your holidays are 
so early ; for mine, I must rejoice, since I accept the kind invitation 
you have rendered doubly gratifying by bringing it yourself." 

" Deuce take the fellow and his fine speeches ! One don't know 
which way to look," thought English Frank. 

The Italian smiled again, as if this time he had read the boy's 
heart, without need of those piercing black eyes, and said, less ceie- 
3uoniously than before, " You don't care much for compliments, 
young gentleman ?" 
" No, I don't indeed," said Frank heartily. 

" So much the better for you, since your way in the world is made ; 
it would be so much the worse if you had to make it !" 

Frank looked puzzled : the thought was too deep for him— so he 
turned to the pictures. 

" Those are very funny," said he : " they seem capitally done. 
WhocSd'em?" 
" Sisnorino Hazeldean, you are giving me what yon refused yourself.*' 



50 Al* JNOVEL; Da, 

" Eli?" said Frank inquiringly. 
" Compliments!" 

" Oh— I— no; but they are well done : ar'n't they, sir? 
" Not particularly : you speak to the artist." 
" What ! you painted them ?" 
" Yes." 

" And the pictures in the hall?" 
" Those too." 

"Taken from nature, eh?" . 

" Nature," said the Italian sententiously, perhaps evasively, ieK 
nothing be taken from her." 

" Oh ! " said Frank, puzzled again. " "Well, I must wish you good 
morninsr, sir ; I am very glad you are coming." 
" Without compliment?" 
" Without compliment." 

" A rivedersi — good-by for the present, my young Signorino. Tlus 
way," observing Frank make a bolt towards the wrong door. 

" Can I offer you a glass of wine ? — it is pure, of our own making." 
" No, thank you, indeed, sir," cried Frank, suddenly recollecting 
his father's admonition. " Good-by, don't trouble yourself, sir ; I 
know my way now." 

But the bland Italian followed his guest to the wicket, where Frank 
had left the pony. The young gentleman, afraid lest so courteous a 
a host should hold the stirrup for liim, twitched off the bridle, and 
mounted in haste, not even staying to ask if the Italian could put 
him in the way to Rood Hall, ot which way he was profoundly igno- 
rant. The Italian's eye followed the boy as he rode up the ascent in 
the lane, and the Doctor sighed heavily. " The wiser we grow," said 
he to himself, "the more we regret the age of our follies : it is better 
to gallop with a light heart up the stony hill than sit in the summer- 
house and cry ' How true !' to the stony truths of Machiavelli !" 

With that he turned back into the Belvidere ; but he could not 
resume his studies. He remained some minutes gazing on the 
prospect, till the prospect reminded him of the fields which Jackeymo 
was bent on his hiring, and the fields reminded him of Lenny Fair- 
field. He returned to the house, and hi a few moments re-emerged 
in his out-of-door trim, with cloak and umbrella, re-lighted his pipe, 
and strolled towards Hazeldean village. 

Meanwhile Frank, after cantering on for some distance, stopped at 
a cottage, and there learned that there was a short cut across the 
fields to Rood Hall, by which he could save nearly three miles. 
Frank, however, missed the short cut, and came out into the high 
road: a turnpike keeper, after first taking his toll, put him back 
again into the short cut ; and finally, he got into some green ianes, 
rtherc a dilapidated finger-post directed him to Rood. Late at noon, 
having ridden fifteen miles in the desire to reduce ten to seven, he 
came suddenly upon a wild and primitive piece of ground, that 
seemed half chace, half common, with crazy tumbledown cottages of 
villanous aspect scattered about in odd nooks and corners ; idle, dirty 
children were making mud pies on the road; slovenly-looking 
women were plaiting straw at Uie thresholds ; a large but forlorn and 



TARIET1ES IN ENGLISH LIFE. CI 

decayed church, that seemed to say that the generation which saw it 
built was more pious than the generation which now resorted to it, 
stood boldly and nakedly out by the roadside. 

"Is this the village of Rood?" asked Frank of a stout young man 
breaking stones on the road— sad sign that no better labour could be 
found for him ! 

The man sullenly nodded, and continued his work. 

" And where' s the Hall — Mr. Leslie's ? " 

The man looked up in stolid surprise, and this time touched his 
hat. 

" Be you going there ? " 

" Yes, if I can find out where it is." 

" I'll show your honour," said the boor alertly. 

Frank reined in the pony, and the man walked by his side. 

Frank was much of his father's son, despite the difference of age, 
and that more fastidious change of manner which characterises each 
succeeding race in the progress of civilisation. Despite all his Eton 
finery, he was familiar with peasants, and had the quick eye of one 
country-born as to country matters. 

" You don't seem very well off in this village, my man ? " said he, 
knowingly. 

" Noa ; there be a deal of distress here in the winter time, and 
summer too, for that matter ; and the parish ben't much help to a 
single man." 

" But, surely, the farmers want work here as well as elsewhere ? " 

"'Deed, and there ben't much farming work here — most o' the 
parish be all wild ground loike." 

"The poor have a right of common, I suppose," said Frank, sur- 
veying a large assortment of vagabond birds and quadrupeds. 

"Yes; neighbour Timmins keeps his geese on the common, and 
some has a cow — and them be neighbour Jowlas's pigs. I don't 
know if there's a right, loike ; but the folks at the Hall does all they 
can to help us, and that ben't much : they ben't as rich as some 
folks; but," added the peasant proudly, "they be as good blood as 
any in the shire." 

" I'm glad to see you like them, at all events." 

" Oh yes, I loikes them well eno' ; mayhap you are at school with 
the young gentleman ? " 

"Yes," said Frank. 

" Ah ! I heard the clergyman say as how Master Bandal was a 
mighty clever lad, and would get rich some day. I'se sure I wish 
he would, for a poor squire makes a poor parish. There's the Hall, 
sir." 



CHAPTER IH. 

JFxauk looked right ahead, and saw a square house that, in spite 
of modern sash-windows, was evidently of remote antiquity : a high 
conical roof ; a stack of tall quaint chimney-pots of red baked clay 
(like those at Sutton Place, in Surrey) dominating over isolated 



f,9 MY NOVEL; OR, 

ralgar smoke-conductors, of the ignoble fashion of present times; a 
dilapidated groin-work, encasing within a Tudor arch a door of the 
comfortable date of George III., and the peculiarly dingy and 
weather-stained appearance of the small finely-finished bricks, of 
which the habitation was built— all showed the abode of former 
generations adapted with tasteless irreverence to the habits of de- 
scendants unenlightened by Pugin, or indifferent to the poetry of 
the past. The house had emerged suddenly upon Frank out of the 
gloomy waste land, for it was placed in a hollow, and sheltered from 
sight by a disorderly group of ragged, dismal, valetudinarian fir-trees, 
until an abrupt turn of the road cleared that screen, and left the 
desolate abode bare to the discontented eye. Frank dismounted; 
the man held his pony ; aDd after smoothing his cravat, the smart 
Etonian sauntered up to tne door, and startled the solitude of the 
place with a loud peal from the modern brass knocker — a knock 
which instantly brought forth an astonished starling who had built 
under the eaves of the gable roof, and called up a cloud of sparrows, 
tomtits, and yellow-hammers, who had been regaling themselves 
amongst the litter of a slovenly farmyard that lay m full sight to the 
right of the house, fenced off by a primitive, paintless wooden Tail. 
In process of time a sow, accompanied by a thriving and inquisitive 
family, strolled up to the gate of the fence, and, leaning her nose 
on the lower bar of the gate, contemplated the visitor with much 
curiosity and some suspicion. 

While Frank is still without, impatiently swingeing his white 
trousers with his whip, we will steal a hurried glance towards the 
respected members of the family within. Mr. Leslie, the pater-fami- 
lias, is in a little room called his "study," to which he regularly 
retires every morning after breakfast, rarely re-appearing till one 
o'clock, which is his unfashionable hout- for dinner. In what myste- 
rious occupations Mr. Leslie passes those hours no one ever formed 
a conjecture. At the present moment he is seated before a little 
rickety bureau, one leg of which (being shorter than the other) is 
propped up by sundry old letters and scraps of newspapers; and 
the bureau is open, and reveals a great number of pigeon-holes and 
divisions, filled with various odds and ends, the collection of many 
years. In some of these compartments are bundles of letters, very 
yellow, and tied in packets with faded tape ; in another all by itself, 
is a fragment of plum-pudding stone, which Mr. Leslie has picked up 
in his walks, and considered a rare mineral. It is neatly labelled, 
"Found in Hollow Lane, May 21st, 1804, by Maunder Slugge Leslie^ 
Esq. The next division holds several hits of iron in the shape of 
nails, fragments of horse-shoes, &c, which Mr. Leslie had also met 
with in his rambles and, according to a harmless popular superstition, 
deemed it highly unlucky not to pick up, and, once picked up no less 
unlucky to throw away. Item, in the adjoining pigeon-hole, a' goodly 
collection ot pebbles with holes m them, preserved for the same 
reason. _ In company with a crooked sixpence : item, neatly arranged 
in fanciful mosaics, several periwinkles, Blackamoor's teeth (I mean 
the shell so called), and othe- specimens of the conchiferous ingenuity 
if Nature, partly inherited from some ancestral spinster p'irtij 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LII'2. 63 

amassed by Mr. Leslie himself _m a youthful excursion to the sea- 
side. There were the farm-bailiff's accounts, several files of bills, an 
old stirrup, three sets of knee and shoe buckles, which had belonged 
to Mr. Leslie's father, a few seals tied together by a shoe-string, a 
shagreen tooth-pick case, a tortoise-shell magnifying-glass to read 
with, his eldest son's first copybooks, his second son's ditto, his 
daughter's dittto, and a lock of his wife's hair arranged in a true 
lover's knot, framed and glazed. There were also a small mouse- 
trap ; a parent cork-screw, too good to be used in common ; fragments 
of a silver tea-spoon, that had, Dy natural decay, arrived at a dissolu- 
tion of its parts, a small brown Holland bag, containing halfpence of 
various dates, as far back as Queen Anne, accompanied by two French 
sous, and a German silber gros ; — the which miscellany Mr. Leslie 
magniloquently called " his coins," and had left in his will as a family 
heir-loom. There were many other curiosities of a congenial nature 
and equal value — qum nunc describere longum est. Mr. Leslie was 
engaged at this time in what is termed " putting things to rights " — 
an occupation he performed with exemplary care once a-week. This 
was his day ; and he had just counted his coins, and was slowly tying 
them up again in the brown Holland bag, when Frank's knock 
reached his ears. 

Mr. Maunder Slugge Leslie paused, shook his head as if incre- 
dulously, and was about to resume his occupation, when he was seized 
with a fit of yawning which prevented the bag being tied for lull two 
minutes. 

While such the employment of the study, let us turn to the recrea- 
tions in the drawing-room, or rather parlour. A drawing-room there 
was on the first-floor, with a charming look-out, not on the dreary fir- 
trees, but on the romantic undulating forest-land ; but the drawing- 
room had not been used since the death of the last Mrs. Leslie. It 
was deemed too good to sit in, except when there was company: 
there never being company, it was never sate in. Indeed, now the 
paper was falling off the walls with the damp, and the rats, mice, and 
moths— those " edaces rerum " — had eaten, between them, most of 
the chair-bottoms and a considerable part of the floor. Therefore, the 
parlour was the sole general sitting-room ; and being breakfasted in, 
dined and supped in, and, after supper, smoked in by Mr. Leslie to 
the accompaniment of rum-and-water, it is impossible to deny that it 
had what is called " a smell " — a comfortable, wholesome family smell 
—speaking of numbers, meals, and miscellaneous social habitation. 
There were two windows : one looked full on the fir-trees ; the othei' 
on the farm-yard, with the pig-sty closing the view. Near the fir-tree 
window sate Mrs. Leslie : before her, on a high stocl, was a basket 
of the children's clothes that wanted mending. A work-table of rose- 
wood inlaid with brass, which had been a wedding-present, and was a 
costly thing originally, but in that peculiar taste which is vulgarly 
called " Bramagem," stood at hand : the brass had started in sevcrrJ 
places, and occasionally made great havoc in the children's fingers ami 
in Mrs. Leslie's gown ; in fact, it was the liveliest piece of furniture 
in the house, thanks to that petulant brass- work, and could not have 
h<xn more mischievous if it. had been a monkey. Upon the work- 



51 MY NOVBL; oa, 

table lay a housewife and a thimble, and scissors, and skeins ol 
worsted and thread, and little scraps of linen and cloth for patches. 
But Mrs. Leslie was not actually working— she was preparing to 
work; she had been preparing to work for the last hour and a half. 
Upon her lap she supported a novel, by a lady who wrote much for a 
former generation, under the name of " Mrs. Bridget Blue Mantle." 
She had a small needle in her left hand, and a very tluck piece of 
thread in her right; occasionally she applied the end of the said thread to 
her lips, and t iien — her eyes lixed on the novel — made a blind, vacillating 
attack at the eye of the needle. But a camel woidd have gone 
through it with quite as much ease. Nor did the novel alone engage 
Mrs. Leslie's attention, fur ever and anon she interrupted herself to 
scold the children, to inquire " what o'clock it was ;" 1o observe that 
" Sarah would never suit ;" and to wonder " why Mr. Leslie would 
not see that the work-table was mended." Mrs. Leslie has been 
rather a pretty woman. In spite of a dress at once slatternly and 
economical, she has still the air of a lady — rather too much so, the 
hard duties of her situation considered. She is proud of the antiquity 
of her family on both sides ; her mother was of the venerable stock of 
the Daudles of Daudle Place, a race that existed before the Conquest. 
Indeed, one has only to read our earliest chronicles, and to glance 
over some of these 'ong-winded moralising poems which delighted the 
thanes and calderuen of old, in order to see that the Daudles must 
have been a very influential family before William the First turned 
the country topsy-turvy. While the mother's race was thus indubitably 
Saxon, the father's had not only the name but the peculiar idosyncrasy 
of the Normans, and went far to establish that crotchet of the urilliant 
author of Sibyl, or the Two Nations, as to the continued distinction 
between the conquering and conquered populations. Mrs. Leslie's 
father boasted the name of Montfydget ; doubtless of the same kith 
and kin as those great barons Montfichet, who once owned such broad 
lauds and such turbulent castles. A high-nosed, thin, nervous, ex- 
citable progeny, those same Montfydget s, as the most troublesome 
JMorman could pretend to be. This fusion of race was notable to the 
most ordinary physiognomist in the physique and in the morale of 
Mrs. Leslie. She had the speculative blue eve of the Saxon, and the 
passionate high nose of the Norman; she had the musing do-nothing- 
ness of He Daudles and the reckless have-at-everv-thingness of the 
Monttydjreis At Mrs Leslie's feet, a little girl with her hair about 
her ears (and bcauti ul ha;r it was too) was amusing herself with a 
broken-nosed doll. At the far end of the room, before a high desk, 
sate I rank s Eton school-fellow, the eldest son. A minute or two 
before Irank s. alarum had disturbed the tranquillity of the house- 
hold, he had raised his eyes from the books on the desk to glance at a 
very tattered copy of the Greek lestament, in which Ids brother 
Oliver had found a difficulty that he came to Landal to solve. As the 
young Ltomans face was turned to the bght, your first impression, on 
seeing it would have been melancholy, but respectful, mterest-for 
the face had already lost the joyous character of youth— there was e. 
wrinkle between the brows; and the hues that speak of fati<me Vere 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 6£ 

already visible under the eyes and about the mouth : the complexion 
was sallow, the lips were pale. Years of study had already sown in 
the delicate organization the seeds of many an infirmity and many a 
pain : but if your look had rested longer on that countenance, 
gradually your compassion might hare given place to some feeling 
uneasy and sinister — a feeling akin to fear. There was in the whole 
expression so much of cold, calm force, that it belied the debility of 
the frame. You saw there the evidence of a mind that was cultivated, 
and you felt that in that cultivation there was something formidable. 
A notable contrast to this countenance, prematurely worn, and 
eminently intelligent, was the round healthy face of Okver, with slow 
blue eyes fixed hard on the penetrating orbs of his brother, as if trying 
with might and main to catch from them a gleam of that knowledge 
with which they shone clear and frigid as a star. 

At Frank's knock, Oliver's slow blue eyes sparkled into animation, 
and he sprang from his brother's side. The little girl flung back the 
hair from her face, and stared at her mother with a look which spoke 
wonder and fright. 

The young student knit his brows, and then turned wearily back to 
the books on his desk. 

" Dear me," cried Mrs. Leslie, " who can that possibly be ? Oliver, 
come from the window, sir, this instant : you will be seen ! Juliet, 
run — ring the bell — no, go to the head of the kitchen stairs, and call 
out to Jenny, ' Not at home.' Not at home on any account,'' 
repeated Mrs. Leslie, nervously, for the Montfydget blood was now 
in full flow. 

In another minute or so, Frank's loud, boyish voice was distinctly 
heard at the outer door. 

Randal slightly started. 

" Frank Hazeldean's voice," said he ; " I should like to see him, 
mother." 

" See him," repeated Mrs. Leslie, in amaze ; " see him !— and the 
room in this state ! " 

Randal might have replied that the room was in no worse state 
than usual ; but he said nothhig. A slight flush came and went over 
his pale face : and then he leaned his cheek on his hand, and com- 
pressed his lips firmly. 

The outer door closed with a sullen, inhospitable jar, and a slin- 
shod female servant entered with a card between her finger anil 
thumb. 

" A\ ho is that for ?— give it to me, Jenny," cried Mrs. Leslie. 

But Jenny shook her head, laid the card on the desk beside Randal, 
and vanished without saying a word. 

"Oh look, Randal, look up," cried Oliver, who had again rushed 
to the window ; " such a pretty grey pony !" 

Randal did look up ; nay, he went deliberately to the window, and 
gazed a moment on the high-mettled pony, and the well-dressed, 
spirited rider. In that moment changes passed over Randal's coun- 
tenance more rapidly than clouds over the sky in a gusty day. Now 
envy and discontent, with the curled lip and the gloomv scowl ; new 

VOL. I. jp 



g§ MY NOVEL; OR, 

hope and proud self-esteem, with the clearing brow and the lofty 
smile- and then again all became cold, firm, and close, as he 
■walked back to his books, seated himself resolutely, and said, hall 
aloud— , 

" Well, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER ! 



CHAPTER IV. 

Mbs. Leslie came up in fidget and in fuss ; she leant over Randal's 
shoulder and read the card. Written in pen and ink, with an attempt 
at imitation of printed Roman character, there appeared first 
"Mr. Frank Hazeldean ;" but just over these letters, and scribbled 
hastily and lees legibly in pencil, was — 

" Dear Leslie, — sorry you were out — come ,-ind see us — Do /" 
"You will go, Randal?" said Mrs. Leslie, alter a pause. 
" 1 am not sure." 

"Yes, you cau go; you have clothes lib- ;« ivntleman: you can go 
anywhere, not like those children;" and .Mrs. Leslie glanced almost 
spitefully at poor Oliver's coarse threadbare jacket, and little Juliet's 
torn frock. 

" What I have I owe at present to Mr. Egerton, and I should 
consult his wishes ; he is not on good terms wiih these Hazeldeaus." 
Then turning towards his brother, who looked mortified, lie added, 
with a strange sort of haughty kindness, " What ] may have here- 
after, Oliver, I shall owe to myself ; and then if I rise, I will raise 
my family." 

" "Dear Randal," said Mrs. Leslie, fondly kissing him on the fore 
head, "what a good heart you have !" 

" No, mother ; my books don't tell me that it is a good heart that 
gets on in the world : it is a hard head," replied Randal, with a rude 
and scornful candour. " But I can read no more just now : 3ome 
out, Oliver." 

So saying, he slid from his mother's hand and left the room. 
"When Oliver joined him, Randal was already on the common ; and, 
without seeming to notice his brother, he continued to walk quickly, 
and with long strides, in profound silence. At length he paused 
under the shade oi an old oak, that, too old to be of value save for 
irewood, had escaped the axe. The tree stood on a knoll and the 
spot commanded a view oi the decayed house— the dilapidated church 
— the dreary village. 

" Oliver," said Randal, between his teeth, so that his voice had the 

sound ot a hiss, it was under this tree that 1 first resolved to " 

He paused. 
"What, Randal?" 
" Read hard : knowledge is power ! " 
* But you are so fond of reading." 

" 1 ! " cried Randal. "Do you think, when Wolsey and Thomas-a- 
Becket became priests they were fond of telling Uiej beads and pat- 
*ering aves P I fond of reading ! . *^ 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LI*E. 67 

Oliver stared ; the historical allusions were beyond Lis comr.r&> 
tension. 

" You know," continued Randal, " that we Leslies were not always 
the beggarly poor gentlemen we are now. You know that there is a 
man who lives in Grosvenor Square, and is very rich — very. Hia 
riches come to him from a Leslie ; that man is my patron, Oliver, and 
he — is very good to me." 

Randal's smile was withering as he spoke. " Come en," he said, 
after a pause — " come on." Again the walk was quick, and the 
brothers were silent. 

They came at length to a little shallow brook, '-.cross which some 
large stones had been placed at short intervals, so that the bovs 
walked over the ford dryshod. " Will you pull down that bougb, 
Oliver?" said Randal, abruptly, pointing to a tree. Oliver obeyed 
mechanically ; and Randal, stripping the leaves, and snapping off the 
twigs, left a fork at the end; with this he began to remove the 
stepping-stones. 

" What are you about, Randal ?" asked Oliver, wonderingly. 

"We are on the other side of the brook now, and we shall not 
come back this way, We don't want the stepping-stones any. more! 
— away with them !" 



CHAPTER V 

The morning after this visit of Frank Hazeldean's to Rood Hall, 
the Right Honourable Audley Egerton, member of parliament, pnvy 
councillor, and minister of a high department in the state — just 
below the rank cf the cabinet — was seated in his library, awaiting the 
delivery of the post, before he walked down to Ins office. In the 
meanwhile, he sipped his tea, and glanced over the newspapers with 
that quick and half-disdainful eye with which vour practical man in 
public life is wont to regard the abuse or the eulogium of the Fourth 
Estate. 

There is very little likeness between Mr. Egerton and his half- 
brother ; none, indeed, except that they are both of tall stature, and 
strong, sinewy, EngUsh build. But even in this last they do not 
resemble each other; for the Squire's athletic shape is already 
beginning to expand into that portly embonpoint which seems the 
natural development of contented men as they approach middle I'Je. 
Audley, on the contrary, is inclined to be spare ; and his figure, 
though the muscles are as firm as iron, has enough of the slender to 
satisfy metropobtan ideas of elegance. His dress, his look— his tout 
ensemble— are those of the London man. In the first, there is more 
attention to fashion than is usual amongst the busy members of ths 
House of Commons ; but then Audley Egerton has alway been so. no- 
thing more than a mere busy member of the House of Commons. He 
has always been a person of mark in the best society; and one 
secret of his success in life has been his high reputation as " a 
gentleman." 

A* he now bends over the journals, there is an air of distinction in 

J? 2 



83 J&T 110TEL; OS, 

the turn of the well-shaped head, with the dark brown hair— dark in 
spite of a reddish tinge— cut close behind, and worn away a little 
towards the crown, so as to give additional height to a commanding 
forehead. His profile is very handsome, and of that kind of beauty 
which imposes on men if it pleases women ; and is, therefore, unlike 
that of your mere pretty fellows, a positive advantage in public life. 
It is a profile with large features clearly cut, masculine, and some- 
what severe. The expression of his face is not open, like the Squire's: 
nor has it the cold closeness which accompanies the intellectual 
character of young Leslie's; but it is reserved and dignified, and 
significant of self-control, as should be the physiognomy of a man 
accustomed to think before he speaks. When you look at him, you 
are not surprised to learn that he is not a florid orator nor a smart 
debater— he is a "weighty speaker." He is fairly read, but without 
any great range either of ornamental scholarship or constitutional 
lore. He has not much humour : but he has that kind of wit which 
is essential to grave and serious irony. He has not much imagination, 
nor remarkable subtlety in reasoning ; but if he does not dazzle, he 
does not bore : he is too much of the man of the world for that. He 
is considered to have sound sense and accurate judgment. Withal, 
as he now lavs aside the journals, and his face relaxes its austerer 
lines, you will not be astonished to hear that he is a man who is said 
to have been greatly beloved by women, and still to exercise much 
influence iu drawing-rooms and boudoirs. At least, no one was 
surprised when the great heiress, Clementina Leslie, kinswoman and 
ward to Lord Lansmere — a young lady who had refused three earls 
and the heir-apparent to a dukedom — was declared by her dearest 
friends to be dying of love for Audley Egerton. It had been the 
natural wish of the Lansmeres that this lady should marry their son, 
Lord L'Estrange. But that young gentleman, whose opinions on 
matrimony partook of the eccentricity of his general character, could 
never be induced to propose, and had, according to the on-dits of 
town, been the principal party to make up the match between 
Clementina and his friend Audley ; for the match required making-up, 
despite the predilections of the young heiress. Mr. Egerton had had 
scruples of delicacy. He avowed, for the first time, that his fortune 
was much less than had been generally supposed, and he did not 
like the idea, of owing all to a wife, however highly he might esteem 
and admire her. Now, Lord L'Estrange (not long after the election 
at Lansmere, which had given to Audley his first seat hi parliament) 
had suddenly exchanged from the battalion of the Guards to which 
he belonged, and which was detained at home into a cavalry regiment 
on active service in the Peninsula. Nevertheless, even abroad, and 
amidst the distractions of war, his interest in all that could forward 
Egerton's career was unabated ; and, by letters to his father, and to 
his cousin Clementina, he assisted in the negotiations for the marriage 
between Miss Leslie and his friend ; and, before the year in which 
Audley was returned for Lansmere had expired, the yomi" senator 
received the hand of the great heiress. The settlement hi her fortune, 
which was chiefly in the funds, had been unusually advantageous to 
the husband; for though the capital was tied up so long°as both 



VAKIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 63 

survived — for the benefit of any children they might have — yet, in 
the event of one of the parties dying without issue hy the marriage, 
the whole passed without limitation to the survivor. Miss Leslie, in 
spite of all remonstrance from her own legal adviser, had settled this 
cxause with Egerton's confidential solicitor, one Mr. Levy, of whom 
we shall see more hereafter ; and Egerton was to be kept in ignorance 
of it till after the marriage. If in this Miss Leslie showed a generous 
trust in Mr. Egerton, she still inflicted no positive wrong on her 
relations, for she had none sufficiently near to her to warrant their 
claim to the succession. Her nearest kinsman, and therefore her 
natural heir, was Harley L'Estrange ; and if he was contented, no 
one had a right to complain. The tie of blood between herself and 
the Leslies of Rood Hall was, as we shall see presently, extremely 
distant. 

It was not till after his marriage that Mr. Egerton took an active 
part hi the business of the House of Commons. He was then at the 
most advantageous starting-point for the career of ambition. His 
words on the state of the country took importance from his stake in 
it. His talents found accessories in the opulence of Grosyenor 
Square, the dignity of a princely establishment, the respectability of 
one firmly settled in life, the reputation of a fortune in reality very 
large, and which was magnified by popular report into the revenues of 
a Croesus. Audley Egerton succeeded in Parliament beyond the 
early expectations formed of him. He took, from the first, that sta- 
tion in the House which it requires tact to establish, and great know- 
ledge of the world to free from the charge of impracticability and 
crotchet, but which, once established, is peculiarly imposing from the 
rarity of its independence ; that is to say, the station of the moderate 
man, who belongs sufficiently to a party to obtain its support, but is 
yet sufficiently disengaged from a party to make his vote and word, on 
certain questions, matter of anxiety and speculation. 

Professing Toryism (the word Conservative, which would have suited 
him better, was not then known), he separated himself from the 
country party, and always avowed great respect for the opinions of 
the large towns. The epithet given to the views of Audley Egerton 
was " enlightened." Never too much in advance of the passion of 
the day, yet never behind its movement, he had that shrewd calcula- 
tion of odds which a consummate mastery of the world sometimes 
bestows upon politicians, — perceived the chances for and against a 
certain question being carried within a certain time, and nicked the 
question between wind and water. He was so good a barometer of 
that changeful weather called Public Opinion, that he might have had 
a hand in the Times newspaper. He soon quarrelled, and purposely, 
with his Lansmere constituents ; nor had he ever revisited that 
borough, — perhaps because it was associated with unpleasant remi- 
niscences in the shape of the Squire's epistolary trimmer, and in that 
of his own effigies which his agricidtural constituents had burned in 
the corn-market. But the speeches that produced such indignation 
•at Lansmere had delighted one of the greatest of our commercial 
towns, which at the next general election honoured him with its repre- 
eentation. In those days, before the Reform Bill, great commercial 



70 MY NOTEL; OR, 

towns chose men of high mark for their members ; and a proud sta- 
tion it was for him who was delegated to speak the voice of the 
princely merchants of England. 

Mrs. Egerton survived her marriage but a few years ; she left no 
children; two had been born, but died in their first infancy. The 

Eroperty of the wife, therefore, passed without control or limit to the 
usband. 
Whatever might have been the grief of the widower, he disdained 
to betray it to the world. Indeed, Audley Egerton was a man who 
had early taught himself to conceal emotion. He buried himself in 
the country, none knew where, for some months. When he returned, 
there was a deep wrinkle or. his brow ; but no change in his habits 
and avocations, except that shortly afterwards he accepted office, and 
thus became more busy than ever. 

Mr. Egerton had always been lavish and magnificent in money 
matters. A rich man in public life has many claims on his fortune, 
and no one yielded to those claims with an air so regal as Audley 
Egerton. But amongst his many liberal actions there was none which 
seemed more worthy of panegyric than the generous favour he 
extended to the son of his wife's poor and distant kinsfolk, the Leslies, 
of Rood Hall. 

Some four generations back, there had lived a certain Squire Leslie, 
a man of large acres and active mind. He had cause to be displeased 
with his eldest son, and though he did not disinherit him, he left half 
his property to a younger. 

The younger had capacity and spirit which justified the parental 
provision. _ He increased his fortune, lifted himself into notice and 
consideration by public services and a noble alliance. His descendants 
followed his example, and took rank among the first commoners in 
England, till the last male, dying, left his sole heiress and represen- 
tative in one daughter, Clementina, afterwards married to Mr. 
Egerton. 

Meanwhile the elder son of the forementioned squire had muddled 
and sotted away much of his share in the Leslie property, and by low 
habits and mean society, lowered in repute his representation of the 
name. 

His successors imitated him, till nothing was left to Randal's 
father, Mr Maunder Slugge Leslie, but the decayed house, which 
was what Jie (jermans call the stumm schloss or "stem hall" of the 
race, and the wretched lands immediately around it 

Still, though all intercourse between the two branches of the family 
had ceased, the younger had always felt a respect for th- elder as the 
head of the house. And it was supposed that, on her death-bed, 
Mrs Egerton had recommended her impoverished namesakes and kin- 
dred to the care of her husband ; for, when he returned to town after 
Mrs. Egerton's death, Audley had sent to Mr. Maunder Slugge Leslie 
the sum oi £5,000, which he said his wife, leaving no writtcS will had 
orally bequeathed as a legacy to that gentleman ; and he requested 
permission to charge himself with the education of the eldest son 

Mr. Maunder Slugge Leslie might have done great things f or Ids 
little property with those £5 000, or even (kept in the Three per Cents) 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 71 

the interest would have afforded a material addition to his comforts. 
But a neighbouring solicitor, having caught scent of the legacy, huLted 
it down into his own hands, on pretence of having found a capital 
investment in a canal. And when the solicitor had got possession of 
the £5,000, he went off with them to America. 

Meanwhile Randal, placed by Mr. Egerton at an excellent prepara- 
tory school, at first gave no signs of industry or talent ; but just betort 
he left it, there came to the school, as classical tutor, an ambitious 
young Oxford man ; and his zeal — for he was a capital teaeher — 
produced a great effect generally on the pupils, and especially on 
Randal Leslie. He talked to them much in private on the advantages 
of learning, and shortly afterwards he exhibited those advantages in 
his own person ; for, having edited a Greek play with much subtle 
scholarship, his college, which some slight irregularities of his had 
displeased, recalled him to its venerable bosom by the presentation of 
a fellowship. ' After this he took orders, became a college tutor, dis- 
tinguished himself yet more by a treatise on the Greek accent, got a 
capital living, and was considered on the high road to a bishopric. 
This young man, then, communicated to Randal the thirst for know- 
ledge ; and when the boy went afterwards to Eton, he applied with 
such earnestness and resolve, that his fame soon reached the ears of 
Audley; and that person, who had the sympathy for talent, and yet 
more for purpose, which often characterises ambitious men, went to 
Eton to see him. Erom that time Audley evinced great and almost 
fatherly interest in the brilliant Etonian ; and Randal always spent 
with him some days in each vacation. 

1 have said that Egerton" s conduct, with respect to this boy, was 
more praiseworthy than most of those generous actions for which he 
was renowned, since to this the world gave no applause. What a 
man does within the range of his family connexions does not carry 
with it that eclat which invests a munificence exhibited on public 
occasions. Either people care nothing about it, or tacitly suppose it 
to be but his duty. It was true, too, as the Squire had observed, that 
Randal Leslie was even less distantly related to the Hazeldeans than 
to Mrs. Egerton, since Randal's grandfather had actually married a 
Miss Hazeldean (the highest worldly connexion that branch of the 
family had formed since the great split I have commemorated). But 
Audley Egerton never appeared aware of that fact. As he was not 
himself descended from the Hazeldeans, he did not tr< uble himself 
about their genealogy; and he took care to impress it upon the 
Leslies that his generosity on their behalf was solely 1 > be ascribed 
to his respect for his wife's memory and kindred. St i 1 the Squire 
had felt as if his " distant brother" implied a rebuke on his own 
neglect of these poor Leslies, by the liberality Audley evmced towards 
them ; and this had made him doubly sore when the name of Randal 
Leslie was mentioned. But the fact really wa,i, that the Leslies of 
Rood had so shrunk out of all notice that the Squiie had actually 
forgotten their existence, until Randal became tlus indebted to his 
brother ; and then he felt a pang of remorse that any one save himself, 
the head of the Hazeldeans, should lend a k-Jtiing hand to the grand- 
son of a Hazeldean. 



72 MY NOVEL; 0R_. 

But having thus, somewhat too tediously, explained the posi- 
tion of Audley Egerton, whether in the world or in relation to his 
young protege, I may now permit him to receive and to read his 



letters. 



CHAPTER VI. 



Mr. Egerton glanced over the pile of letters placed beside him, 
and first he tore up some, scarcely read, and threw them into the 
waste-basket. Public men have such odd, out-of-the-way letters, that 
their waste-baskets are never empty : letters from amateur financiers 
proposing new ways to pay off the Rational Debt ; letters from 
America (never free), asking for autographs ; letters from fond 
mothers in country villages, recommending some miracle of a son for 
a place in the King's service ; letters from free-thinkers in reproof of 
bigotry ; letters from bigots in reproof of free-thinkers ; letters signed 
Brutus Iledivivus, containing the agreeable information that the 
writer has a dagger for tyrants, if the Danish claims are not forth- 
with adjusted; letters signed Matilda or Caroline, stating that Caro- 
line or Matilda has seen the public man's portrait at the Exhibition, 
and that a heart sensible to its attractions may be found at No. — , 
Piccadilly ; letters from beggars, impostors, monomaniacs, specula- 
tors, jobbers — all food for the waste-basket. 

Prom the correspondence thus winnowed, Mr. Egerton first 
selected those on business, which he put methodically together in 
one division of his pocket-book; and secondly, those of a private 
nature, which he as carefully put into another. Of these last there 
were but three— one from his steward, one from Harley L'Estrange, 
one from Randal Leslie. It was his custom to answer his corres- 
pondence at his office ; and to his office, a few minutes afterwards, 
he slowly took his way. Many a passenger turned back to look again 
at the firm figure, which despite the hot summer day, was buttoned 
up to the throat ; and the black frock-coat thus worn well became 
the erect air, and the deep, full chest of the handsome senator. When 
he entered Parliament Street, Audley Egerton was joined by one of 
his colleagues, also on his way to the cares of office. 

After a few observations on the last debate, this gentleman said — 

"By the way, can you dine with me next Saturday, to meet Lans- 
mere ? He comes up to town to vote for us on Monday " 

" I had asked some people to dine with me," answered Egerton 
"bit I will put them off. I see Lord Lansmere too seldom to miss 
any occasion to meet a man whom I respect so much " 

" So seldom ! True, he is very little in town ; but why don't you go 
and see him in the country ? Good shooting— pleasant, old-fashioned 
house. 

"My dear Westbourne his house is ' mnium nana Cremona: close 
to a borough in which 1 have been burned m effigy " 

"Ha-ha— yes-I remember you first came into Parliament foi that 
snug little place ; but Lansmere himself never found fault with vour 
Yoteu, did be P" 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIFE, 73 

"He behaved very handsomely, and said he had uot presumed to 
.consider me his mouthpiece ; and then, too, I am so intimate with 
I/Estrange." 

" Is that queer fellow ever coming back to England ?" 

"He comes, generally, every year, for a few days, just to see his 
father and mother, and then returns to the Continent." 

" I never meet him." 

" He comes in September or October, when you, of course, are not 
in town, and it is in town that the Lansmeres meet him." 

"Why does he not go to them ?" 

" A man in England but once a year, and for a few days, has so 
much to do in London, I suppose ? " 

" Is he as amusing as ever ? " 

Egerton nodded. 

"So distinguished as he might be !" remarked Lord Westbourne. 

'' So distinguished as he is ! " said Egerton formally ; " an officer 
selected for praise, even in such fields as Quatre Bras and "Waterloo; 
a scholar, too, of the finest taste ; and as an accomplished gentleman, 
matchless ! " 

" I like to hear one man praise another so warmly in these ill- 
natured days," answered Lord Westbourne. "But still, though 
L. Estrange is doubtless all you say, don't you think he rather wastes 
his life — living abroad ? " 

" And trying to be happy, Westbourne ? Are you sure it is not we 
who waste our lives ? but 1 can't stay to hear your answer. Here we 
are at the door of my prison." 

"On Saturday, then?" 

" On Saturday. Good day." 

Eor the next hour, or more, Mr. Egerton was engaged on the affairs 
of the state. He then snatched an interval of leisure (while awaiting 
a report, which he had instructed a clerk to make him), in order to 
reply to his letters. Those on public business were soon despatched ; 
and throwing his replies aside, to be sealed by a subordinate hand, he 
drew out the letters which he had put apart as private. 

He attended first to that of his steward : the steward's letter was 
long, the reply was contained in three lines. Pitt himself was scarcely 
more negligent of his private interests and concerns than Audley 
Egerton — yet, withal, Audley Egerton was said by his enemies to be 
an egotist. 

The next letter he wrote was to Randal, and that, though longer, 
was far from prolix : it ran thus — 

" Dear Mr. Leslie, — I appreciate your delicacy in consulting mc, 
whether you should accept Frank Hazeldean's invitation to call at the 
Hall. _ Since you are asked, I can see no objection to it. I should be 
sorry if you appeared to force yourself there ; and for the rest, as a 
general rule, I tliink a young man who has his own way to make 
in life had better avoid all intimacy with those of his own age who 
have no kindred objects nor congenial pursuits. 

" As soon as this visit is paid, I wish you to come to London. The 
tenort I receive of your progress at Eton renders it unnecessary, in 



74 »r HOVEL; OR, 

my judgment, that you should return tnere. If your father has no 
objection, I propose that you should go to Oxford at_ the ensuing 
term. Meanwhile, I have engaged a gentleman, who is a fellow of 
Baliol, to read with you. He is of opinion, judging only by your high 
repute at Eton, that you may at once obtain a scholarship in that 
college. If you do so, I shall look upon your career in fife as as- 
sured. 
" Your affectionate friend, and sincere well-wisher 

" A. E." 

The reader will remark that, in this letter, there is a certain tone 
of formality. Mr. Egerton does not call his protege " Dear Randal," 
as would seem natural, but coldly and stiffly, " Dear Mr. Leslie." 
He hints, also, that the boy has his own way to make in life. Is this 
meant to guard against too sanguine notions of inheritance, wliich his 
generosity may have excited ? 

The letter to Lord L'Estrange was of a very different kind from 
the others. It was long, and full of such little scraps of news and 
gossip as may interest friends in a foreign land ; it was written gaily, 
and as with a wish to cheer his friend ; you could see that it was a 
reply to a melancholy letter ; and in the whole tone and spirit there 
was an affection, even to tenderness, of which those who most liked 
Audley Egerton would have scarcely supposed him capable. Yet, 
notwithstanding, there was a kind of constraint in the letter, which 
perhaps only the fine tact of a woman would detect. It had not that 
abandon, that hearty self-outpouring, wliich you might expect would 
characterise the letters of two such friends, who had been boys at 
school together, and which did breathe indeed in all the abrupt 
rambling sentences of his correspondent. But where was the evidence 
of the constraint ? Egerton is off-hand enough where his pen runs 
glibly through paragraphs that relate to others ; it is simply that he 
says nothing about himself— that he avoids all reference to the inner 
world of sentiment and feeling. But perhaps, after all, the man has 
no sentiment and feeling! How can you expect that, a steady per- 
sonage in practical life, whose mornings are spent in Downing-street, 
and whose mghts are consumed in watching Government bills through 
a committee can write in the same style as an idle dreamer amidst 
the pines ot Ravenna, or on the banks of Como ? 

Audley had just finished this epistle, such as it was, when the at- 
tendant in waiting announced the arrival 01 a deputation from a pro- 
TUicial trading town the members of which deputation he had 
appointed to meet at two o clock There was no office in London at 
which deputations were kept waiting less than at that over which Mr. 
Egerton presided. 

The deputation entered-some score or so of middle-aged, comfort- 
able-looking persons, who, nevertheless, had their Tievance— and 
considered their own interests, and those of the country menaced bv 
a certain clause in a bill brought in by Mr. Egerton. 

The Mayor of the town was the chief spokesman, and he spoke well 
—but in a style to wliich the dignified official was not accustomed 
It was a slap-dash style— unceremonious, free, and easy— an American 



VARTTSTTES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 75 

style. And, indeed, there was something altogether in the appear- 
ance and bearing of the Mayor which savoured of residence in the 
Great Republic. He was a very handsome man, but with a look 
sharp and domineering— the look of a man who did not care a straw 
for president or monarch, and who enjoyed the liberty to speak big 
mind and " wallop his own nigger ! " 

His fellow-burghers evidently regarded him with great respect ; 
and Mr. Egerton had penetration enough to perceive that Mr. Mayor 
must be a rich man, as well as an eloquent one, to have overcome 
those impressions of soreness or jealousy which his tone was calcu- 
lated to create in the self-love of his equals. 

Mr. Egerton was far too wise to be easily offended by mere manner ; 
and, though he stared somewhat haughtily when he found his obser- 
vations actually pooh-poohed, he was not above being convinced. 
There was much sense and much justice in Mr. Mayor's arguments, 
and the statesman civilly promised to take them into full considera- 
tion. 

He then bowed out the deputation ; but scarcely had the door 
closed before it opened again, and Mr. Mayor presented himself alone, 
saying aloud to his companions in the passage, " I forgot something 
I had to say to Mr. Egerton wait below for me." 

" Well, Mr. Mayor," said Audley, pointing to a seat, " what else 
would you suggest?" 

The Mayor looked round to see that the door was closed ; and then, 
drawing his chair close to Mr. Egerton's, laid his forefinger on that 
gentleman's arm, and said, " I think I speak to a man of the world, 
sir?" 

Mr. Egerton bowed, and made no reply by word, but he gently 
removed his arm from the touch of the forefinger. 

Mr. Mayor. — You observe, sir, that I did not ask the members 
whom we return to Parliament to accompany us. Do better without 
'em. You know they are both in Opposition — out-and-outers. 

Mr. Egerton. — It is a misfortune which the Government can- 
not remember, when the question is whether the trade of the town 
itself is to be served or injured. 

Mr. Mayor. — Well, I guess you speak handsome, sir. But 
you'd be glad to have two members to support Ministers after the 
next election. 
Mr. Egerton (smiling). — Unquestionably, Mr. Mayor. 
Mr. Mayor. — And I can do it, Mr. Egerton. I may say I have 
the town in my pocket ; so I ought — I spend a great deal of money 
in it. Now, you see, Mr. Egerton, I have passed a part of my life in 
a land of liberty — the United States — and I come to the point when I 
speak to a man of the world. I'm a man of the world myself, sir. 
And so, if the Government will do something for me, why, I'll do 
something for the Government. Two votes for a free and independent 
town like ours — that's something, isn't it ? 

Mr. Egerton (taken by surprise). — Really, I 

Mr. Mayor (advancing his chair still nearer, and interrupting the 
official). — No nonsense, you see, on one side or the other. The fact 
is, that I've taken it into my head that I should like to be knighted, 



75 my >'ovr,L; or, 

You raav well look ;:u r ,nsed, Mr. Egerton— trumpery thmg enough, 
I dare say • still, every man has his weakness, and I should hke to be 
Sir Richard. "Well, if you can get me made Sir Richard, you may 
just name vour two members for the next election— that is, if they 
belong to your own set, enlightened men, up to the times. That's 
speaking fair and manful, isn't it r 1 

Mb, Egerton (drawing himself up).— I am at a loss to guess 
why you should select me, sir, for this very extraordinary proposi- 

Mr. Mayor (nodding good-humouredly).— W 7 hy, you see, I don't 
go along with the Government ; you're the best of the bunch. And 
may be you'd like to strengthen your own part y. This is quite between 
you and me, you understand ; honour's a jewel ! 

Mr. Egegtox (with great gravity).— Sir, I am obliged by your 
good opinion ; but I agree with my colleagues in all the great ques- 
tions that affect the government of the country, and 

Mr. Mayor (interrupting him).— Ah, of course, you must say so; 
veiv right. But I guess things would go differently if you were 
"Prime Minister. However, I have another reason for speaking to you 
about my little job. You see you were member for Lansmere once, 
and I think you only came in by a majority of two, eh ? 

Mk. Egerton. — I know nothing of the particulars of that election; 
1 was not present. 

Mu. Mayor.— No; but luckily for you, 1wo relations of mine were, 
and they voted for you. Two votes, and you came in by two. Since 
then, you have got into very snug quarters here, and I think we have 

a claim on you 

Mr. Egerton. — Sir, I acknowledge no such claim ; I was and am 
a stranger to Lansmcrc ; and, if the electors did me the honour to 

return nic to Parliament, it was in compliment rather to 

Mit. Mayor (again interrupting the official). — Bather to Lord 
Lansmere, you were going to say; unconstitutional doctrine that, I 
fancy. Peer of the realm. But never mind, I know the world; and 
I'd ask Lord Lansmere to do my affair for me, only he is a pompous 
sort of man; might be qualmish: antiquated notions. Not up to 
snuff Eke you and me. 

Mr. Egerton (in great disgust, and settling his papers before 
Mm). — Sir, it is not in my department to recommend to his Majesty 
cradidates for the honour of knighthood, and it is still less in my 
department to make bargains for seats in Parliament." 

Mb. Mayor.— Oh, if that's the case you'll excuse me ; I. don't know 
much of the etiquette in these matters. But I thought that, if I put 
two seats in your hands, for your own friends, you might contrive to 
take the affair into your department, what ever it was. But, since you 
say you agree with your colleagues, perhaps it comes to' the same 
thing. Now, you must not suppose I want to sell the town, and that 
I can change and chop my politics tor my own purpose. No such 
thing ! 1 don't like the sitting members ; I'm all for progressing, but 
they go too much ahead for me; and, since the Government is' dis- 
posed to move a little, why, I'd as lief support them as not. But, in 
common gratitude, you see (added the Mayor, coaxingly), I oucht to 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIFE. 1J 

dc knighted! I can keep up the dignity, and do credit to his 
Majesty. 

Mr. Egerton (without looking up from his papers). — I can only 
refer you, sir, to the proper quarter. 

Mr. Mayor (impatiently). — Proper quarter ! Well, since there is 
so much humbug in this old country of ours, that one must go through 
all the forms and get at the job regularly, just tell me whun I ought 
to go to. 

Mr. Egerton (beginning to be amused as well as indignant). — If 
you want a knighthood, Mr. Mayor, you must ask the Prime Minister ; 
if you want to give the Government information relative to seats in 

Parliament, you must introduce yourself to Mr. , the Secretary 

of the Treasury. 

Mr. Mayor. — And if I go to the last chap, what do you think he'll 
say ? 

Mr. Egerton (the amusement preponderating over the indigna- 
tion). — He will say, I suppose, that you must not put the thing in the 
light in which you have put it to me ; that the Government will be 
very proud to have the confidence of yourself and your brother 
electors; and that a gentleman like you, in the proud position of 
Mayor, may well hope to be knighted on some fitting occasion, but 
that you must not talk about the knighthood just at present, and 
must confine yourself to converting the unfortunate political opinions 
of the town. 

Mr. Mayor. — Well, I guess that chap there would want to do me ! 
Not quite so green, Mr. Egerton. Perhaps I had better go at once 
to the fountain-head. How do you think the Premier would take it ? 

Mr. Egerton (the indignation preponderating over the amuse- 
ment). — Probably just as I am about to do. 

Mr. Egerton rang the bell; the attendant appeared. 

" Show Mr. Mayor the way out," said the Minister. 

The Mayor turned round sharply, and his face was purple. He 
Tamed straignt to tne aoor ; out suffering the attendant to precede 
arm along the corridor. He came bacK with a rapid stride, and clench- 
mg nis hands, and with a voice thick with passion, cried, " Some day 
or otner 1 will make you smart for this, as sure as my name's Dick 
Avenel!" 

" Avenel '" repeated Egerton, recoiling— " Avenel ! " 

But the Mayor was gone. 

Audiey fell into a deep and musing reverie, which seemed gloomy, 
ana lasted till the attendant announced that the horses were at the 
door. 

He then looked up, still abstractedly, and saw his letter to Harley 
L'Estrange open on the table. He drew it towards him, and wrote, 
"A. man has just left me, who calls himself Aven — " In the middle 
of the name his pen stopped. " No, no," muttered the writer, 
" what folly to re-open the old wounds there" and he carefully erased 
the words. 

Audiey Egerton did not ride in the Park that day, as was his wont, 
out dismissed his groom ; and, turning his horse's head towards 
Westminster Bridge, took his solitary way into the country. He ride 



78 MT NOVEL; OR, 

at first slowly, as if in thought ; then fast, as if trying to escape from 
thought. He was later than usual at the House that evening, and 
he looked pale and fatigued. But he had to speak, and he spoke 
well. 



CHAPTER VII. 

In spite of all his Machiavellian wisdom, Dr. Riccabocca had been 
foiled in his attempt to seduce Leonard Fairfield into his service, even 
though he succeeded in partially winning over the widow to his views. 
For to her he represented the worldly advantages of the thing. 
Lenny would learn to be fit for more than a day-labourer; he would 
learn gardening in all its branches — rise some day to be a head 
gardener. " And," said Riccabocca, "I will take care of his book- 
learning, and teach him whatever he has a head tor." 

" He has a head for everything," said the widow. 

" Then," said the wise man, " everything shall go into it." 

The widow was certainly dazzled ; for, as we have seen, she highly 
prized scholarly distinction, and she knew that the Parson looked 
upon Riccabocca as a wondrous learned man. But still Riccabocca 
was said to be a Papist, and suspected to be a conjurer. Her scruples 
on both these points the Italian who was an adept in the art of talking 
over the fair sex, would no doubt have dissipated, if there had been any 
use in it ; but Lenny put a dead stop to all negotiations. He had 
taken a mortal dislike to Riccabocca: he was very much frightened 
by him— and the spectacles, the pipe, the cloak, the long hair, and the 
red umbrella; and said so sturdily, in reply to every overture—" Please, 
sir, I'd rather not ; I'd rather stay along with mother,"— that Ricca- 
bocca was forced to suspend all further experiments in his Machia- 
vellian diplomacy. He was not at all cast down, however, bv his first 
failure ; on the contrary, he was one of those men whom opposition 
stimulates. And what before had been but a suu»estion of prudence, 
became an object ot desire. Plentv of other lads might no doubt be 
had, on as reasonable terms as Lennv Fairfield ; but the moment 
Lenny presumed to baffle the Italian's designs upon him, the special 
acquisition of Lenny became ol paramount importance in the eyes of 
Signor Riccabocca. 

_ J ackey mo, however, lost all his interest in the traps, snares, and 
gins which his master proposed to lay for Leonard Fairfield in the 
more immediate surprise that awaited him on learning that Dr. Ric- 
cabocca had accepted an invitation to pass a few days°at the Hall 

"There will be no one there but the family," said Riccabocca. 

Poor tiiacomo, a little chat m the servants' hall will do you good- 
and the Squire's beef is more nourisldn- after all, than the stickle- 
backs and minnows. It wdl lengthen your life." 

" The Padrone jests," said Jackeymo, statelily ; "as if anyone could 
starve in his service." 

" Urn," said Riccabocca. "At least, faithful friend, you have tried 
that experiment as lar as human nature will permit •" and he 
«xteaded his hand to his feiiow-exile with that familiarity which 



VARIETIES IX ESGLISH LIFE. /D 

exists between servant and master in the usages of tlie Continent. 
Jackeymo bent low, and a tear fell upon the hand he kissed. 

" Coapetto ! " said Dr. Eiccabocca, " a thousand mock pearls do not 
make up the cost of a single true one ! The tears of women — we 
know their worth; but the tear of an honest man — Fie, Giacomo!— 
at least I can never repay you this ! Go and see to our wardrobe." 

So far as his master's wardrobe was concerned, that order was 
pleasing to Jackeymo ; for the Doctor had in his drawers suits which 
Jackeymo pronounced to be as good as new. though many a long year 
had passed since they left the tailor's hands. But when Jackeymo 
came to examine the state of his own clothing department, his face 
grew considerably longer. It was not that he was without other 
clothes than those on his back — quantity was there, but the quality ! 
Mournfully he gazed on two suits, complete in the three separate 
members of which man's raiments are composed : the one suit 
extended at length upon his bed, like a veteran stretched by pious 
hands after death ; the other brought piecemeal to the invidious 
light — the torso placed upon a chair, the limbs dangling down from 
Jackeymo's melancholy arm. No bodies long exposed at the Morgue 
could evince less sign of resuscitation than those respectable defuncts ! 
For, indeed, Jackeymo had been less thrifty of his apparel — more pro- 
fusus sui — than his master. In the earliest days of their exile, he 
preserved the decorous habit of dressing for dinner — it was a respect 
due to the Padrone — and that habit had lasted till the two habits on 
which it necessarily depended had ovinced the first symptoms of 
decay ; then the evening clothes had been taken into morning wear, 
in which hard service they had breathed their last. 

The Doctor, notwithstanding his general philosophical abstraction 
from such household details, had more than once said, rather in pity 
to Jackeymo than with an eye to that respectability which the cos- 
tume of the servant reflects on the dignity of the master, " Giacomo, 
thou wantest clothes ; fit thyself out of mine ! " 

And Jackeymo had bowed, his gratitude, as if the donation had been 
accepted ; but the fact was, that that same fitting-out was easier said 
than done. For though — thanks to an existence mainly upon stickle- 
backs and minnows — both Jackeymo and Riccabocca had arrived 
at that state which the longevity of misers proves to be most health- 
ful to the human frame — viz., skin and bone — yet the bones contained 
in the skin of Riccabocca all took longitudinal directions ; while 
those in the skin of Jackeymo spread out latitudinally. And you 
might as well have made the bark of a Lombardy poplar serve for the 
trunk of some dwarfed and pollarded oak — in whose nollow the Babes 
of tks Wood could have slept at their ease — as have fitted out 
Jackeymo from the garb of Riccabocca. Moreover, if the skill of the 
tailor could have accomplished that undertaking, the faithful 
Jackeymo would never have had the heart to avail himself of the 
generosity of his master. He had a sort of religious sentiment, too, 
about those vestments of the Padrone. The ancients, we know, when 
escaping from shipwreck, suspended in the votive temple the gar- 
ments in which they had struggled through the wave. Jackeymo looked 
on those relics of the past with a kindred superstition, " Thia coat 



80 MY NOVEL, OK, 

the Padrone were on such an occasion. I remember the very even- 
ing the Padrone last put on those pantaloons ! " And coat and pan- 
taloons were tenderly dusted, and carefully restored to their sacred 
rest. 

But now, after all, what was to be done ? Jackeymo was much too- 
proud to exhibit his person to the eyes of the Squire's butler, in- 
habiliments discreditable to himself and the Padrone. In the midst 
of his perplexity the bell rang, and he went down into the parlour. 

Iticcabocca was standing on the hearth, under his symbolical' 
representation of the " Patriae Exul." 

" Giacomo," quoth he, " I have been thinking that thou hast never 
done what I told thee, and fitted thyself out from my superfluities. 
But we are going now into the great world : visiting once begun,. 
Heaven knows where it may stop ! Go to the nearest town and get 
thyself clothes. Things are dear in England. Will this suffice?" 
And Biccabocca extended a £5 note. 

Jackeymo, we have seen, was more familiar with his master than 
we formal English permit our domestics to be with us. But in his 
familiarty he was usually respectful. This time, however, respect 
deserted him. 

" The Padrone is mad !" he exclaimed; " he would fling away his 
whole fortune if I would let him. Five pounds English, or a hundred 
and twenty-six pounds Milanese ! * SamU Maria ! Unnatural father ! 
And what is to become of the poor Signorina ? Is this the way you 
are to marry her in the foreign land ?" 

" Giacomo," said Biccabocca, bowing his head to the storm ; " the 
Signorina to-morrow ; to-day the honour of the house. Thy small- 
clothes, Giacomo. Miserable man, thy small-clothes ! " 

" It is just," said Jackeymo, reco* ering himself, and with humility ; 
" and the Padrone does right to blame me, but not in so cruel a way. 
It is just — the Padrone lodges and boards me, and gives me hand- 
some wages, and he has a right to expect that I should not go in this 
figure." 

" For the board and the lodgmmt, good," said Biccabocca. " For 
the handsome wages, they are the visions of thy fancy !" 

" They are no such things," said Jackeymo, " they are only in 
arrear. As if the Padrone couM not pay them some day or other — as 
if I was demeaning myself by serving a master who did not intend to 
pay his servants ! And can't I wait ? Have I not my savings too ? 
But be cheered, be cheered- you. shall be contented with me. I have 
two beautiful suits still. I was arranging them when you rang for 
me. You shall see, you shall see." 

And Jackeymo hurried fror 1 the room, hurried back into his own 
chamber, unlocked a little tnmk which he kept at his bed head, 
tossed out a variety of snuil articles, and from the deepest depth' 
extracted a leather purse. He emptied the contents on the bed. 
They were chiefly Italian co.ns, some five-franc pieces, a silver medal- 
lion, enclosing a little imag-: of his patron saint — San Giacomo — one 
solid English guinea, and lomewkat more than a pound's worth in 
English silver. Jackeymo jut back the foreign coins, savins, pru- 

* By the pouiuls Milanese, Giacomo means the Milanese li,-». 



VARIETIES [X ENGLISH LIFE. 8? 

dently, "One will lose on them here:" he seized the English coins, 
and coiinted them out. " But are you enough, you rascals ?" quoti 
he, angrily, giving them a good shake. His eye caught sight of tho 
medallion— he paused ; and after eyeing the tiny representation of 
the saint with great deliberation, he added, in a sentence which hr> 
must have picked up from the proverbial aphorisms of his master — 

" What's the difference between the enemy who does not hurt ma, 
and the friend who does not serve me ? Monsignore San Giacomo, my 
patron saint, you are of very little use to me in the leather bag. But 
if you help me to get into a new pair of small-clothes on this impor- 
tant occasion, you will be a friend indeed. Alia bisogna, Monsignore." 
Then, gravely kissing the medallion, he thrust it into one pocket, the 
coins into the other, made up a bundle of the two defunct suits, and 
muttering to himself, " Beast, miser, that I am, to disgrace the 
Padrone, with all these savings in his service ! " ran downstairs into 
his pantry, caught up his hat and stick, and in a few moments more 
was seen trudging off to the neighbouring town of L . 

Apparently the poor Italian succeeded, for he came back that even- 
ing in time to prepare the thin gruel which made his master's supper, 
with a suit of black — a little threadbare, but still highly respectable 
— two shirt fronts, and two white cravats. But, out of all this finery, 
Jackeymo held the small-clothes in especial veneration ; for, as they 
had cost exactly what the medallion had sold for, so it seemed to him 
that San Giacomo had heard his prayer in that quarter to which he 
had more exclusively directed the saint's attention. The other habi- 
liments came to him in the merely human process of sale and barter ; 
the small-clothes were the personal gratuity of San Giacomo ! 



CHAPTER Vin. 

Life has been subjected to many ingenious comparisons ; and if we 
do not understand it any better, it is not for want of what is called 
'reasoning by illiintiation." Amongst other resemblances, there are 
moments when, to a quiet contemplator, it suggests the image of one 
of those rotatory entertainments commonly seen in fairs, and known by 
the name of " whirligigs or roundabouts," in which each participator 
of the pastime, seated on his hobby, is always apparently in the act 
of pursuing some one before him, while he is pursued by some one 
behind. Man, and woman too, are naturally animals of chase ; the 
greatest still find something to follow, and there is no one too humble 
not to be an object of prey to another. Thus, confining our view to 
the village of Hazeldean, we behold in this whirligig Dr. Biccabocca 
spurring his hobby after Lenny Eairfield ; and Miss Jemima, on her 
decorous side-saddle, whipping after Dr. Biccabocca. "Why, with so 
long and intimate a conviction of the villany of our sex, Miss Jemima 
should resolve upon giving the male animal one more chance of 
redeeming itself in her eyes { I leave to the explanation of those gen- 
tlemen who profess to 'fina " their only books in woman's looks-" 
ir'eriiaps it might be from the over-tenderness and clemency of Miss 

vol. i. a 



82 MY MOVEL; OR, 

Jemima's nature ; perhaps it might be that, as yet, she had only experi 
enced the villany of man born and reared in these cold northern climates; 
and in the land of Petrarch and Romeo, of the citron and myrtle, 
there was reason to expect that the native monster would be more 
amenable to gentle influences, less obstinately hardened in his iniqui- 
ties. Without entering further into these hypotheses, it is sufficient 
to say, that, on Signor Riccabocca's appearance in the drawing-room 
at Hazeldean, Miss Jemima felt more than ever rejoiced that she had 
relaxed in his favour her general hostility to men. In truth, though 
Frank saw something quizzical in the old-fashioned and outlandish 
cut of the Italian's sober dress ; in his long hair, and the chapeau bras, 
over which he bowed so gracefully, and then pressed it, as if to his 
heart, before tucking it under his arm, after the fashion in which the 
gizzard reposes under the wing of a roasted pullet ; yet it was impos- 
sible that even Frank could deny to Riccabocca that praise which is 
due to the air and manner of an unmistakable gentleman. And cer- 
tainly as, after dinner, conversation grew more familiar, and the 
Parson and Mrs. Dale, who had been invited to meet their friend, did 
their best to draw him out, his talk, though sometimes a little too 
wise for his listeners, became eminently animated and agreeable. It 
was the conversation of a man who, besides the knowledge which is 
acquired from books and life, had studied the art which becomes a 
gentleman — that of pleasing in polite society. 

The result was, that all were charmed with him: and that even 
Captain Barnabas postponed the whist-table for a full hour after the 
usual time. The Doctor did not play — he thus became the property 
of the two ladies, Miss Jemima and Mrs. Dale. 

Seated between the two, in the place rightfully appertaining to 
Flimsey, who this time was fairly dislodged, to her great wonder and 
discontent, the Doctor was the emblem of true Domestic Felicity, 
placed between Friendship and Love. 

Friendship, as became her, worked quietly at the embroidered 
pocket-handkerchief, and left Love to more animated operations. 
" You must be very lonely at the Casino," said Love, in a sympathi- 
sing tone. 

" Madam," replied Riccabocca, gallantly, "I shall think so when I 
leave you." 

Friendship cast a sly glance at Love — Love blushed or looked 
down on the carpet, — which comes to the same thing. " Yet," began 
Love again — " yet solitude to a feeling heart " 

Riccabocca thought of the note of invitation, and involuntarily 
buttoned his coat, as if to protect the individual organ thus alarm- 
ingly referred to. 

" Solitude, to a feeling heart, has its charms. It is so hard even 
for us poor ignorant women to find_ a congenial companion — but for 
you /" Love stopped short, as if it had said too much, and smelt 
confusedly at its bouquet. 

Dr. Riccabocca cautiously lowered his spectacles, and darted one 
glance, which, with the rapidity and comprehensiveness of lightning, 
seemed to envelope and take in, as it were, the whole inventory of 
Miss Jemima's personal attractions. Now, Miss Jemima, as I have 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE, 8i 

before observed, had a mild and pensive expression of countenance, 
and sue would have been positively pretty had the mildness looked a 
little more alert, and the pensiveness somewhat less lackadaisical. 
In fact, though Miss Jemima was constitutionally mild, she was not 
de naturd pensive ; she had too much of the Hazeldean blood in her 
veins for that sullen and viscid humour called melancholy, and there- 
fore this assumption of pensiveness really spoiled her cha-acter of 
features, which only wanted to be lighted up by a cheerful smile to 
be extremely prepossessing. The same remark might apply to the 
figure, which — thanks to the same pensiveness — lost all the undu- 
lating grace which movement and animation bestow on the fluent 
curves of the feminine form. The figure was a good figure, examined 
in detail — a little thin, perhaps, but by no means emaciated — with 
just and elegant proportions, and naturally light and flexible. But 
that same unfortunate pensiveness gave to the whole a character of 
inertness and languor ; and when Miss Jemima reclined on the sola, 
so complete seemed the relaxation of nerve and muscle that you 
would have thought she had lost the use of her limbs. Over her 
face and form, thus defrauded of the charms Providence had bestowed 
on them, Dr. Riccabocca' s eye glanced rapidly; and then moving 
nearer to Mrs. Dale—" Defend me " (he stopped a moment, and 
added) — " from the charge of not being able to appreciate congenial 
companionship." 

" Oh, I did not say that !" cried Miss Jemima. 
" Pardon me," said the Italian, " if I am so dull as to misunder- 
stand you. One may well lose one's head, at least, in such a neigh- 
bourhood as this." He rose as he spoke, and bent over Frank's 
shoulder to examine some Views of Italy, which Miss Jemima 
(with what, if wholly unselfish, would have beoi an attention 
truly delicate) had extracted from the library in order to gratify the 
guest 

" Most interesting creature, indeed," sighed Miss Jemima, " but 
too— too flattering ! " 

" Tell me," said Mrs. Dale gravely, " do you think, love, that you 
could put off the end of the world a little longer, or must we make 
haste m order to be in time ?" 
'' How wicked you are ! " said Miss Jemima, turning aside. 
Some few minutes afterwards, Mrs. Dale contrived it so that 
Dr. Riccabocca and herself were in a further corner of the room, 
looking at a picture said to be by Wouvermans. 
Mits. Dale. — She is very amiable, Jemima, is she not ? 
Riccabocca. — Exceedingly so. Very fine battle-piece ! 
Mfis. Dale. — So kind-hearted. 

Riccabocca. — All ladies are. How naturally that warrior makes 
nis desperate cut at the runaway ! 

Mi-is. Dale. — She is not what is called regularly handsome, but 
she has something very winning. 

E,iccaj30cca (with a smile) . : — So winning, that it is strange she 
is not won. That grey mare in the fore-ground stands out very 
bolcCy ! 
Mks. Dale (distrusting the smile of Riccabocca, and throwing IE s 

6 2 



84 MY NOVEL; OK, 

more effective grape charge). — Not won yet ; and it is strange ! shs 
will have a very pretty fortune. 

Biccabocca. — Ah ! 

Mrs. Dale. — Six thousand pounds, I dare say — certainly four. 

Biccabocca (suppressing a sigh, and with his wonted address). — 
If Mrs. Dale were still single, she would never need a friend to say 
what her portion might be ; but Miss Jemima is so good that T am 
quite sure it is not Miss Jemima's fault that she is still — Miss 
Jemima ! 

The foreigner slipped away as he spoke, and sate himself down 
beside the whist-players. 

Mrs. Dale was disappointed, but certainly not offended. — " It 
would be such a good thing for both," muttered she, almost inaudibly. 

" Giacomo," said Biccabocca, as he was undressing that night in 
the large, comfortable, well-carpeted English bedroom, with that 
great English four-posted bed in the recess which seems made to 
shame folks out of single-blessedness — " Giacomo, I have had this 
evening the offer of probably six thousand pounds — certainly of four 
thousand." 

" Cosa meravigliosa /" exclaimed Jackeymo — "miraculous thing!" 
and he crossed himself with great fervour. " Six thousand pounds 
English ! why, that must be a hundred thousand — blockhead that I 
am! — more than a hundred and fifty thousand pounds Milanese!" 
And Jackeymo, who was considerably enlivened by the Squire's ale, 
commenced a series of gesticulations and capers, in the midst of 
which he stopped and cried, "But not for nothmg ?" 

"Nothing! no." 

"These mercenary English !— the Government wants to bribe you." 

"That's not it." 

" The priests want you to turn heretic." 

" Worse than that," said the philosopher. 

" Worse than that ! Padrone ! for shame !" 

" Don't be a fool, but pull off my pantaloons — they want me never 
to wear these again ! " 

" Never to wear what ?" exclaimed Jackeymo, staring outright at 
his master's long legs in their linen drawers — "never to wear " 

" The breeches," said Biccabocca laconically. 

"The barbarians !" faltered Jackeymo. 

" My nightcap ! — and never to have any comfort in this," said 
Biccabocca, drawing on the cotton headgear ; " and never to have any 
sound sleep in that;" pointing to the four-posted bed. " And to be a 
bondsman and a slave," continued Biccabocca, waxing wroth ; " and 
to be wheedled and purred at, and pawed, and clawed, and scolded, 
and fondled, and blinded, and deafened, and bridled, and saddled — 
bedevilled and — married!" 

"Married!" said Jackeymo, more dispassionately — "that's very 
bad, certainly ; but more than a hundred and fifty thousand lire, and 

perhaps a pretty young lady, and -" 

"Pretty young lady !" growled Biccabocca, jumping into bed and 
drawing the clothes fiercely over him. _ " Put out the candle, end get 
4ong -with you — do, you villanous old incendiary !" 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIF4. &S 



CHAPTER IX. 



It was not many days since the resurrection of those ill-omenea 
stocks, and it was evident already, to an ordinary observer, that 
something wrong had got into the village. The peasants "wore a 
sullen expression of countenance ; when the Squire passed, they took 
off their hats with more than ordinary formality, but they did not 
return the same broad smile to his quick, hearty "Good day, my 
man." The women peered at him from the threshold or the case- 
ment, but did not, as was their wont (at least the wont of the 
prettiest), take occasion to come out to catch his passing compliment 
on their own good looks, or their tidy cottages. And the children, 
who used to play after work on the side of the old stocks, now 
shunned the place, and, indeed, seemed to cease play altogether. 

On the other hand, no man likes to build, or rebuild, a great public 
work for nothing. Now that the Squire had resuscitated the stocks, 
and made them so exceedingly handsome, it was natural that he 
should wish to put somebody into them. Moreover, his pride and 
self-esteem had been wounded by the Parson's opposition; and it 
would be a justification to his own forethought, and a triumph over 
the Parson's understanding, if he could satisfactorily and practically 
establish a proof that the stocks had not been repaired before it was 
wanted. 

Therefore, unconsciously to himself, there was something about the 
Squire more burly, and authoritative, and menacing than heretofore. 
Old Gaffer Solomons observed, "that they had better moind well 
what they were about, for that the Squire had a wicked look in the 
tail of his eye — just as the dun bull had afore it tossed neighbour 
Barnes's little boy." 

For two or three days these mute signs of something brewing in 
the atmosphere had been rather noticeable than noticed, without any 
positive overt act of tyranny on the one hand, or rebellion on the 
other. But on the very Saturday night in which Dr. Riccabocca was 
installed in the four-posted bed in the chintz chamber, the threatened 
revolution commenced. In the dead of that night personal outrage 
was committed on the stocks. And on the Sunday morning, Mr. 
Stirn, who was the earliest riser in the parish, perceived, in going 
to the farmyard, that the knob of the column that flanked the board 
had been feloniously broken off ; that the four holes were bunged up 
with mud ; and that some Jacobinical villain had carved on the very 
centre of the flourish or scroll-work, "Dam the stoks !" Mr. Stirn 
was much too vigilant a right-hand man, much too zealous a friend 
of law and order, not to regard such proceedings witn horror and 
alarm. And when the Squire came into his dressing-room at half- 
past seven, his butler (who fulfilled also the duties of valet) informed 
him, with a mysterious air, that Mr. Stirn had something "very 
partikler to communicate, about a most howdacious midnight 
'spiracy and 'sault." 

The Squire stared, and bade Mr. Stirn be admitted 



83 MV NOVEL; OK, 

"Well?" cried the Squire, suspending the operation of stropping 
his razor. 

Mr. Stirn groaned. 

" Well, man, what now ? " 

"I never knowed such a thing in this here parish 'afore," begar 
Mr. Stirn, "and I can only 'count for it by s'posing that them foreign 
Papishers have been semminating " 

fi Been what?" 

" Semminating " 

"Disseminating, you blockhead — disseminating what?" 

" Damn the stocks," began Mr. Stirn, plunging right in medias res, 
and by a fine use of one of the noblest figures in rhetoric. 

"Mr. Stirn!" cried the Squire, reddening, "did you say, 'Damn 
the stocks ?' — damn my new handsome pair of stocks !" 

"Lord forbid, sir j that's what they say: that's what they have 
digged on it with knives and daggers, and they have stuffed mud in 
its four holes, and broken the capital of the elewation." 

The Squire took the napkin off his shoulder, laid down strop and 
razor: he seated himself in his arm-chair majestically, crossed his 
legs, and, in a voice that affected tranquillity, said — 

"Compose yourself, Stirn; you have a deposition to make, touching 
an assault upon— can I trust my senses? — upon my new stocks. 
Compose yourself — be calm. NOW ! What the devil is come to the 
parish?" 

"Ah, sir, what indeed?" replied Mr. Stirn: and then laying 
the fore-finger of the right hand on the palm of the left, he narrated 
the case. 

"And whom do you suspect ? Be calm now ; don't speak in a pas- 
sion. You are a witness, sir— a dispassionate, unprejudiced witness. 
Zounds and fury ! this is the most insolent, unprovoked, diabolical — 
but whom do you suspect, I say ?" 

Stirn twirled his hat, elevated his eyebrows, jerked his thumb over 
his shoulder, and whispered — •" I hear as how the two Papishers slept 
at your honour's last night." 

" What, dolt ! do you suppose Dr. Rickeybockey got out of his 
warm bed to bung up the holes in my new stocks ?" 

"Noa; he's too cunning to do it himself, but he aiay have been 
semminating. He's mighty thick with Parson Dale, and your honour 
knows as how the Parson set his face ag'in the stocks. Wait a bit, 
sir — don't fly at me yet. There be a boy in this here parish " 

" A boy — ah, fool, now you are nearer the mark. The Parson write 
Damn the stocks,' indeed ! What boy do you mean ?" 

"And that boy be cockered up much by Mr. Dale; and the 
Papisher went and sat with him and his mother a whole hour t'other 
day ; and that boy is as deep as a well ; and I seed him lurking about 
Hie place, and hiding hisself under the tree the day the stocks was 
jrat up— and that 'ere boy is Lenny Fairfield." 

"Whew," said the Squire, whistling, "you have not your usual 
jen&es about you to-day, man. Lenny Fairfield — pattern boy of the 
village. Hold your tongue. I dare say it is not done by any one in 
the parish, after all: some good-for-nothing vagrant— that cursed 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 8? 

tir.ker, who goes about with a very vicious donkey — a donkey that I 
caught picking thistles out of the very eyes of the old stocks ! Shows 
how the tinker brings up his donkeys ! Well, keep a sharp look-out. 
To-day is Sunday ; worst day of the week, I'm sorry and ashamed to 
say, for rows and depredations. Between the services, and after 
evening church, there are always idle fellows from all the neighbouring 
country about, as you know too well. Depend on it, the real culprits 
will be found gathering round the stocks, and will betray themselves ; 
have your eyes, ears ; and wits about you, and I've no doubt we shall 
come to the rights ol the matter before the day's out. And if we do," 
added the Squire, " we'll make an example of the ruffian !" 

" In course," said Stirn ; " and if we don't find him, we must make 
an example all the same. That's what it is, sir. That's why the 
stocks ben't respected ; they has not had an example yet — we wants 
an example. 

" On my word, I believe that's very true ; and we'll clap in the first 
idle fellow you catch in anything wrong, and keep him there for two 
hours at least." 

" With the biggest pleasure, your honour — that's what it is." 

And Mr. Stirn, having now got what he considered a complete and 
unconditional authority over all the legs and wrists of Hazeldean 
parish, quoad ths stocks, took his departure. 



CHAPTER X. 

" Randal," said Mrs. Leslie, on this memorable Sunday — " Randal, 
do you think of going to Mr. Hazeldean's?" 

"Yes, ma'am," answered Randal. " Mr. Egerton does not object 
to it ; and as I do not return to Eton, I may have no other oppor- 
tunity of seeing Frank for some time. I ought not to fail in respect 
to Mr. Egerton's natural heir." 

" Gracious me ! " cried Mrs. Leslie, who, like many women of her 
cast and kind.had a sort of worldliness in her notions, which she 
never evinced in her conduct — " gracious me ! — natural heir to the 
old Leslie property !" 

" He is Mr. Egerton's nephew, and," added Randal, ingenuously 
letting out his thoughts, " I am no relation to Mr. Egerton at all." 

" But," said poor Mrs. Leslie, with tears in her eyes, " it would be 
a shame in the man, after paying your schooling and sending you to 
Oxford, and having you to stay with him in the holidays, if he did not 
mean anything by it." 

"Anything, mother — yes — but not the thing yon suppose. No 
matter. It is enough that he has armed me for life, and 1 shall use 
the weapons as seems to me best." 

Here the dialogue was suspended by the entrance of the other 
members of the family, dressed for church. 

"It can't be time for church! No ! it can't!" exclaimed Mrs. 
Leslie. She was never in time for anything. 

"Last bell ringing," said Mr. Leslie, who, though a slow man, 



83 MY K0VJ5L; Oil. 

was methodical ami punctual. Mrs. Leslie made a frantic rush at the 
door, the Montfydget blood being now in a blaze — dashed up the 
stairs — burst into her room, tore her best bonnet from the peg, 
snatched her newest shawl from the drawers, crushed the bonnet on 
her head, flung the shawl on her shoulders, thrust a desperate pin 
into its folds, in order to conceal a buttonless yawn in the body of her 
gown, and then flew back like a whirlwind. M eanwhile the family 
were already out of doors, in waiting ; and just as the bell ceased, 
the procession moved from the shabby house to the dilapidated 
church. 

The church was a large one, but the congregation was small, and so 
was the income of the Parson. It was a lay rectory, and the great 
tithes had belonged to the Leslies, but they had been long since sold. 
The vicarage, still in their gift, might be worth a little more than 
£100 a year. The present incumbent had nothing else to live upom 
He was a good man, and not originally a stupid one ; but penury and 
the anxious cares for wife and family, combined with what may bs 
called solitary confinement for the cultivated mind, when, amidst the 
two-legged creatures round, it sees no other cultivated mind with 
which it can exchange one extra-parochial thought — had lulled him 
into a lazy mournfulness, which at times was very like imbecility. 
His income allowed him to do no good to the parish, whether in work, 
trade, or charity; and thus he had no moral weight with the 
parishioners beyond the example of his sinless life, and such negative 
effect as might be produced by his slumberous exhortations. There- 
fore his parishioners troubled him very little ; and but for the influence 
which, in hours of Montfydget activity, Mrs. Leslie exercised over 
the most tractable — that 's, the children and the aged — not half a 
dozen persons would have known or cared whether he shut up his 
church or not. 

But our family were seated in state in their old seignorial pew, and 
Mr. Dumdrum, with a r.asal twang, went lugubriously through the 
prayers ; and the old people who could sin no more, and the children 
who had not yet learned to sin, croaked forth responses that might 
have come from the choral frogs in Aristophanes. And there was a 
long sermon a propo to nothing which could possibly interest the 
congregation — being, in fact, some controversial homily, which Mr. 
Dumdram had composed and preached years before. And when this 
discourse was over, there was a loud universal grunt, as if of relief 
and thanksgiving, and a great clatter of shoes — and the old hobbled, 
and the young scrambled, to the church door. 

Immediately after church, the Leslie family dined ; and, as soon as 
dinner was over, Randal set out on his foot journey to Hazeldean 
Hall. 

Delicate and even feeble though his frame, he had the energy and 
quickness of movement which belongs to nervous temperaments ; and 
he tasked the slow stride of a peasant, whom he took to serve him as 
a guide for the first two or three miles. Though Randal had not the 
gracious, open manner with the poor which Frank inherited from his 
father, he was still (despite many a secret hypocritical vice at war 
*yith the character of a gentleman) gentleman enough to have no 



VAKIETIES IN ENGLISH LI?£. 89 

churlish pride to his inferiors. He talked little, but he suffered his 
guide to talk • and the boor, who was the same whom Frank had 
accosted, indulged in eulogistic comments on that young gentleman's 
pony, from which he diverged into some compliments on the young 
gentleman himself. Randal drew his hat over his brows. There is 
a wonderful tact and fine breeding in your agricultural peasant ; and 
though Tom Stowell was but a brutish specimen of the class, he 
suddenly perceived that he was giving pain. He paused, scratched 
his head, and glancing affectionately towards his companion, ex- 
claimed — 

" But I shall live to see you on a handsomer beastis than that little 
pony, Master Randal ; and sure I ought, for you be as good a gentle- 
man as any in the land." 

" Thank you," said Randal. " But I like walking better than riding 
— I am more used to it." 

" Well, and you walk bra'ly — there ben't a better walker in the 
county. And very pleasant it is walking ; and 'tis a pretty country 
afore you, all the way to the Hall." 

Randal strode on, as if impatient of these attempts to flatter or to 
soothe ; and, coming at length into a broader lane, said — " I think 
I can find my way now. Many thanks to you, Tom :" and he forced 
a shilling into Tom's horny palm. The man took it reluctantly, and 
a tear started to his eye. He felt more grateful for that shilling than 
he had for Frank's liberal half-crown ; and he thought of the poor 
fallen family, and forgot Iris own dire wrestle with the wolf at his 
door. 

He stayed lingering in the lane till the figure of Randal was out of 
sight, and then returned slowly. Young Leslie continued to walk 
on at a quick pace. With all his intellectual culture, and his restless 
aspirations, his breast afforded him no thought so generous, no senti- 
ment so poetic, as those with which the unlettered clown crept 
slouchingly homeward. 

As Randal gained a point where several lanes met on a broad piece 
of waste land, he began to feel tired, and his step slackened. Just 
then a gig emerged from one of these by-roads, and took the same 
direction as the pedestrian. The road was rough and hilly, and the 
driver proceeded at a foot's pace ; so that the gig and the pedestrian 
went pretty well abreast. 

_ " You seem tired, sir," said the driver, a stout young farmer of the 
higher class of tenants — and he looked down compassionately on the 
boy's pale countenance and weary stride, — "Perhaps we are going 
the same way, and I can gift you a lift ? " 

It was Randal's habitual policy to make use of every advantage 
proffered to him, and he accepted the proposal frankly enough to 
please the honest farmer. 

"A nice day, sir," said the latter, as Randal sat by his side: 
" Have you come far ? " 

" From Rood Hall." 

" Oh, you be young Squire Leslie," said the farmer, more respect- 
fully, and lifting his hat. 

" Yes, my name is Leslie. You know Rood, then ? " 



gO MY NOVEL; OR, 

" I was brought up on your father's land, sir. You may ha?e 
heard of Farmer Bruce ? " 

Randal.— I remember, when I was a httle boy, a Mr. Bruce who 
rented, I believe, the best part of our land, and who used to bring us 
cakes when he called to see my father. He is a relation of yours ? " 

Farmer Bruce. — He was my uncle. He is dead now, poor man. 

Randal. — Dead ! I am grieved to hear it. He was very kind to 
us children. But it is long since he left my father's farm. 

Farmer Bruce (apologetically). — I am sure he was very sorry to 
go. But, you see, he had an unexpected legacy . 

Randal. — And retired from business ? 

Farmer Bruce. — No. But, having capital, he could afford to 
pay a good rent for a real good farm. 

Randal (bitterly). — All capital seems to fly from the lands of 
Rood. And whose farm did he take ? 

Farmer Bbuce. — He took Hawleigh, under Squire Hazeldean. 
i rent it now. We've laid out a power o' money on it. But I don't 
complain. It pays well. 

Randal. — Would the money nave paid as well, sunk on my 
father's land ? 

Farmer Bruce. — Perhaps it might, in the long run. But then, 
sir, we wanted new premises — barns and _ cattle-sheds, and a deal 
more — which the landlord should do ; but it is not every landlord as 
can afford that. Squire Hazeldean's a rich man. 

Randal. — Ay ! 

The road now became pretty good, and the farmer put his horse 
into a brisk trot. 

But which way be you going, sir ? I don't care for a few miles 
more or less, if I can be of service." 

" I am going to Hazeldean," said Randal, rousing himself from a 
reverie. Don't let me take you out of your way." 

" Oh, Hawleigh Farm is on the other side of the village, so it be 
quite my way, sir." 

The farmer, then, who was really a smart young fellow — one of 
that race which the application of capital to land has produced, and 
which, in point of education and refinement, are at least on a par 
with the squires of a former generation — began to talk about his 
handsome horse, about horses in general, about hunting and cours- 
ing : he handled all these subjects with spirit, yet with modesty. 
Randal pulled his hat still lower down over his brows, and did not 
interrupt him till they passed the Casino, when, struck by the classic 
air of the place, and catching a scent from the orange-trees, the boy 
asked abruptly — " Whose house is that ? " 

" Oh, it belongs to Squire Hazeldean, but it is let or lent to a 
foreign Mounseer. They say he is quite the gentleman, but uncom- 
monly poor." 

" Poor," said Randal, turning back to gaze on the trim garden, 
the neat terrace, the pretty belvidere, and (the, door of the house 
being open) catching a glimpse of the painted hall within — 
"poor: the place seems well kept. What do you call poor, Mr. 
Bruce P" 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 91 

The farmer laughed. "Well, that's a home question, sir. But I 
believe the Mounseer is as poor as a man can be who makes no debts 
and does not actually starve." 

"As poor as my father?" asked Randal, openly and abruptly. 

" Lord, sir ! " your father be a very rich man compared to 
him." 

Randal continued to gaze, and his mind's eye conjured up the con- 
trast of bis slovenly shabby home, with all its neglected apurtenances ! 
No trim garden at Rood Hall, no scent from odorous orange-blossoms. 
Here poverty at least was elegant — there, how squalid ! He did not 
comprehend at how cheap a rate the luxury of the Beautiful can be 
effected. They now approached the extremity of the Squire's park 
pales ; and Randal, seeing a little gate, bade the farmer stop his gig, 
and descended. The boy plunged amidst the thick oak-groves ; the 
farmer went his way blithely, and his mellow merry whistle came to 
Randal's moody ear as he glided quick under the shadow of the 
trees. 

He arrived at the Hall, to find that all the family were at church ; 
and, according to the patriarchal custom, the church-going family 
embraced nearly all the servants. It was therefore an old invalid 
housemaid who opened the door to him. She was rather deaf, and 
seemed so stupid that Randal did not ask leave to enter and wait for 
Frank's return. He therefore said briefly that he would just stroll on 
the lawn, and call again when church was over. 

The old woman stared, and strove to hear him ; meanwhile Randal 
turned round abruptly, and sauntered towards the garden side of the 
handsome old house. 

There was enough to attract any eye in the smooth greensward of 
the spacious lawn — in the numerous parterres of variegated flowers — 
in the venerable grandeur of the two mighty cedars, which threw 
their still shadows over the grass — and in the picturesque building, 
with its projecting mullions and heavy gables ; yet I fear that it was 
with no poet's nor painter's eye that this young old man gazed on the 
scene before him. 

He beheld the evidence of wealth — and the envy of wealth jaun- 
diced his soul. 

_ Folding his arms on his breast, he stood awhile, looking all around 
him, with closed lips and lowering brow ; then he walked slowly on, 
his eyes fixed on the ground, and muttered to himself — 

" The heir to this property is little better than a dunce ; and they 
tell me I have talents and learning, and I have taken to my heart the 
maxim, ' Knowledge is power.' And yet, with all my struggles, will 
knowledge ever place me on the same level as that on which this 
dunce is bom ? I don't wonder that the poor should hate the rich. 
But of all the poor, who should hate the rich like the pauper gentle- 
man ? I suppose Audley Egerton means me to come into Parliament, 
and be a Tory like himself ! What ! keep things as they are ! No ; 
for me not even Democracy, unless there first come Revolution. I 
understand the cry of a Marat— -'More blood!' _ Marat had lived 
as a poor man, and cultivated science — in the sight of a prince's 
palace." 



92 MY NOVEL; OR, 

He turned sharply round, and glared vindictively on the poor 
old Hall, which, though a very comfortable habitation, was cer 
tainly no palace ; and, with his arm still folded on his breast, he 
walked backward, as if not to lose the view, nor the chain of ideas it 
conjured up. 

" But," he continued to soliloquise — " but of revolution there is no 
chance. Yet the same wit and will that would thrive in revolutions 
should thrive in this common-place life. Knowledge is power 
Well, then, shall I have no power to oust this blockhead? Oust 
him — what from ? His father's halls ? Well, but if he were dead, 
who would be the heir of Hazeldean? Have I not heard my 
mother say that I am as near in biood to this Squire as any one, 
if he had no children ? Oh, but the boy's life is worth ten of mine ! 
Oust him from what ? At least from the thoughts of his Uncle 
Egerton — an uncle who has never even seen him ! That, at least, is 
more feasible. ' Make my way in life,' sayest thou, Audley Egerton. 
Ay — and to the fortune thou hast robbed from my ancestors. Simu- 
lation — simulation. Lord Bacon allows simulation. Lord Bacon 
practised it — and " 

Here the soliloquy came to a sudden end; for as, rapt in Ms 
thoughts, the boy had continued to walk backwards, he had come to 
the verge, where the lawn sbded off into the ditch of the ha-ha ; and, 
just as he was fortifying himself by the precept and practice of my 
Lord Bacon, the ground went from under him, and — slap into the 
.ditch went Randal Leslie ! 

It so happened that the Squire, whose active genius was always at 
some repair or improvement, had been but a few days before widen- 
ing and sloping off the ditch just in that part, so that the earth was 
fresh and damp, and not yet either turfed or flattened down. Thus 
when Randal, recovering his first surprise and shock, rose to his 
feet, he found his clothes covered with mud; while the rudeness 
of the fall was evinced by the fantastic and extraordinary appear- 
ance of his hat, which, hollowed here, bulging there, and crushed 
out of all recognition generally, was as little like the hat of a decorous, 
hard-reading young gentleman — protege of the dignified Mr. Audley 
Egerton — as any hat picked out of a kennel after some drunken brawl 
possibly could be. 

Randal was dizzy, and stunned, and bruised, and it was some 
moments before he took heed of his raiment. When he did so his 
spleen was greatly aggravated.. He was still boy enough not to 
like the idea of presenting himself to the unknown Squire, and 
the dandy Frank, in such a trim: he resolved incontinently to 
regain the lane and turn home, without accomplishing the object 
of his journey; and seeing the footpath right before him, which 
led to a gate that he conceived would admit him into the high- 
way sooner than the path by whicn lie had come, he took it at 
once. 

It is surprising how little we human creatures heed the warn- 
ings of our good genius. I have no doubt that some benignant 
power had precipitated Randal Leslie into the ditch, as a signifi- 
cant hint of the fate of all who choose what is, now-a-days, by 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. §3 

no moans an uncommon step in the march of intellect — viz,, the 
walking backwards, in order to gratify a vindictive view of one's 
neighbour's property ! I suspect that, before this century is out, 
many a fine fellow will thus have found his ha-ha, and scrambled 
out of the ditch with a much shabbier coat than he had on when 
he fell into it. But Randal did not thank his good genius for 
giving him a premonitory tumble ; — and I never yet knew a man who 
rtid! 



CHAPTER XL 

The Squire was greatly ruffled at breakfast that morning. He was 
too much of an Englishman to bear insult patiently, and he considered 
that he had been personally insulted in the outrage offered to his 
recent donation to the parish. His feelings, too, were hurt as well 
as his pride. There was something so ungrateful in the whole thing, 
just after he had taken so much pains, not only in the resuscitation, 
hut the embellishment of the stocks. It was not, however, so rare 
an occurrence for the Squire to be ruffled, as to create any remark, 
Riccabocca, indeed, as a stranger, and Mrs. Hazeldean, as a wife, had 
the quick tact to perceive that the host was glum and the husband 
snappish ; but the one was too discreet, and the other too sensible to 
chafe the new sore, whatever it might be ; and shortly after break- 
fast the Squire retired into his study, and absented himself from 
morning service. 

In his delightful Life of Oliver Goldsmith, Mr. Forster takes care 
to touch our hearts by introdacias: his hero's excuse for not entering 
the priesthood : " He did not feel rimself good enough." Thy Vicar of 
Wakefield, poor Goldsmith, was an excellent substitute for tjiee ; and 
Dr. Primrose at least will be good enough for the world until Miss 
Jemima's fears are realised. Now, Samre Hazeldean had a tender- 
ness of conscience much less reasonable than Goldsmith's. There 
were occasionally days in which he did not feel good enough— I don't 
say for a priest, but even for one of the congregation — "days in 
which," said the Squire in his own blunt way, " as I have never in my 
life met a worse devil than a devil of a temper, I'll not carry mine 
into the family pew. He shan't be growling out hypocritical responses 
from my poor grandmother's prayer-book." So the Squire and his 
demon stayed at home. But the demon was generally cast out before 
the day was over : and, on this occasion, when the bell rang for after- 
noon service, it may be presumed that the Squire had reasoned or 
fretted himself into a proper state of mind ; for he was then seen 
sallying forth from the porch of his hall, arm-in-arm with his wife, 
and at the head of Ins household. The second service was (as is 
commonly the case in rural districts) more numerously attended tii;.:i 
the first one ; and it was our Parson's wont to devote to this service 
ids most effective discourse. 

Parson Dale, though a very fair scholar, had neither the deep 
theology nor the archaeological learning that distinguishes the rising 
generation of the clergy. I much doubt if he could have passed 



r; 



94 MY NOVEL, OB, 

what would now be called a creditable examination in the Fathers; 
and as for all the nice formalities in the Rubric, he would never hare 
been the man to divide a congregation or puzzle a bishop. Neither 
was Parson Dale very erudite in ecclesiastical architecture : he did 
not much care wnethfr all the details in the church were purely 
Gothic or not : crockets and finials, round arch and pointed arch, 
were matters, I fear, on which he had never troubled his head. But 
one secret Parson Dale did possess, which is perhaps of equal im- 
portance with those subtler mysteries — he knew now to fill his 
church ! Even at morning service no pews were empty, and at even- 
ing service the church overflowed. 

Parson Dale, too, may be considered, now-a-days, to hold but a 
mean idea of the spiritual authority of the Church. He had never 
been known to dispute on its exact bearing with the State — whether 
it was incorporated with the State, or above the State — whether it 
was antecedent to the Papacy, or formed from the Papacy, &c. &c. 
According to his favourite maxim, Quieta non movere (not to disturb 
things that are quiet), I have no doubt that he would have thought 
that the less discussion is provoked upon such matters the better for 
both Church and laity. Nor had he ever been known to regret the 
disuse of the ancient custom of excommunication, nor any other dimi- 
nution of the powers of the priesthood, whether minatory or militant ; 
ret, for all this, Parson Dale had a great notion of the sacred privi- 
_ege of a minister of the gospel — to advise — to deter — to persuade — 
to reprove. And it was for the evening service that he prepared those 
sermons, which may be called " sermons that preach at you." He 
preferred the evening for that salutary discipline, not only because 
the congregation was more numerous, but also because, being a 
shrewd man in his own innocent way, he knew that people bear 
better to be preached at after dinner than before ; that you arrive 
more insinuatingly at the heart when the stomach is at peace. There 
was a genial kindness in Parson Dale's way of preaching at you. It 
was done in so imperceptible, fatherly a manner, that you never felt 
offended. He did it, too, with so much art that nobody but your own 
guilty self knew that you were the sinner he was exhorting. Yet he did 
not spare rich nor poor : he preached at the Squire, and that great fat 
farmer, Mr. Bullock, the churchwarden, as boldly as at Hodge the 
ploughman and Scrub the hedger. As for Mr. Stirn, he had preached 
at him more often than at any one in the parish; but Stirn, though 
he had the sense to know it, never had the grace to reform. There 
was, too, in Parson Dale's sermons something of that boldness of 
illustration which would have been scholarly if he had not made it 
familiar, and which is found in the discourses of our elder divines. 
Like them, he did not scruple, now and then, to introduce an anec- 
dote from history, or borrow an allusion from some non-scriptural 
author, in order to enliven the attention of his audience, or render an 
argument more plain. And the good man had an object in this, a 
little distinct from, though wholly subordinate to, the main purpose 
of his discourse. Hs was a friend to knowledge — but to knowledge 
accompanied by religion ; and sometimes his references to sources 
not within the ordinary reading of his congregation would spirit up 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFB. 95 

some farmer's son, with an evening's leisure on his hands, to ask the 
Parson for farther explanation, and so to be lured on to a little solid 
or graceful instruction, under a safe guide. 

Now, on the present occasion, the Parson, who had always his eye 
and heart on his Hock, and who had seen with great grief the realisa- 
tion of his fears at the revival of the 3tocks ; seen that a spirit of 
discontent was already at work amongst the peasants, and that 
magisterial and inquisitorial designs were darkening the natural 
benevolence of the Squire; seen, in short, the signs of a breach 
between 'classes, and the precursors of the ever inflammable feud 
between the rich and the poor, meditated nothing less than a great 
Political Sermon — a sermon that should extract from the roots of 
social truths a healing virtue for the wound that lay sore, but latent, 
in the breast of his parish of Hazeldean. 

And thus ran — 

The Political Sermon ot Parson Dale. 



CHAPTER XII. 

" For every man shall bear his own burden." — Gal. vi. 5. 

"Brethren, every man has his burden. If God designed our lives 
to end at the grave, may we not believe that he would have freed an 
existence so brief from the cares and sorrows to which, since the 
beginning of the world, mankind has been subjected ? Suppose that 
I am a kind father, and have a child whom I dearly love, but I know 
by a Divine revelation that he will die at the age of eight years, 
surely I should not vex his infancy by needless preparations for the 
duties of life. If I am a rich man, I should not send him from the 
caresses of his mother to the stern discipline of school. If I am a 
poor man, I should not take him with me to hedge and dig, to scorch 
in the sun, to freeze in the winter's cold : why inflict hardships on 
his childhood for the purpose of fitting him for manhood, when I know 
that he is doomed not to grow into man ? But if, on the other hand, 
I believe my child is reserved for a more _ durable existence, then 
should I not, out of the very love I bear to him, prepare his childhood 
for the straggle of life, according to that station in which he is born, 
giving many a toil, many a pain, to the infant, in order to rear and 
strengthen him for his duties as man ? _ So it is with our Father that 
is in heaven. Viewing this life as our infancy, and the next as our 
spiritual maturity, where, 'in the ages to come, he may show the 
exceeding riches of his grace,' it is in his tenderness, as in his wisdom, 
to permit the toil and the pain which, in tasking the powers and deve- 
loping the virtues of the soul, prepare it for ' the earnest of our in- 
heritance.' Hence it is that every man has his burden. Brethren, if 
you believe that God is good, yea, but as tender as a human father, 
you will know that your troubles in lifs are a proof that you are 
reared for an eternity. But each man thinks his own burden the 
hardest to bear ; the poor man groans under his poverty, the rich man 



96 MY *OYEI-; OK, 

under the cares that multiply with wealth. For, so far from wealth 
t'reein:: us from trouble, aU the wise men who have written in all ages 
have repeated, with one voice, the words of the wisest : 'When goods 
increase, they are increased that eat them : and what good is there to 
the owners thereof, saving the beholding them with their eyes?' And this 
is literally true, my brethren; for, let a man be as rich as was the great 
King Solomon himself, unless he lock up all his gold in a chest, it must 
go abroad to be divided amongst others ; yea, though, like Solomon, he 
make him great works, — though he build houses and plant vineyards, 
and make him gardens and orchards, still the gold that he spends feeds 
but the mouths he employs ; and Solomon himself could not eat with a 
better relish than the poorest mason who builded the house, or the 
humblest labourer who planted the vineyard. Therefore, ' when goods 
increase, they are increased that eat them.' And tins, my brethren, 
may teach us toleration and compassion for the rich. We share their 
riches, whether they will or not ; we do not share their cares. The 
profane history of our own country tells us that a princess, destined 
to be the greatest queen that ever sat on this throne, envied the milk- 
maid singing ; and a profane poet, whose wisdom was only less than 
that of the inspired writers, represents the man who by force and wit 
had risen to be a king, sighing for the sleep vouchsafed to the meanest 
of his subjects, — all bearing out the words of the son of David : ' The 
sleep of the labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much; 
but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.' 

'' Amongst my brethren now present, there is doubtless some one 
who has been poor, and by honest industry has made himself com- 
paratively rich. Let his heart answer me while I speak : are not the 
chief cares that now disturb him to be found in the. goods he hath 
acquired ? — has he not both vexations to his spirit and trials to his 
virtue, which he knew not when he went forth to his labour, and took 
no heed of the morrow ? But it is right, my brethren, that to every 
station there should be its care, — to every man his burden; for if the 
poor did not sometimes so far feel poverty to be a burden as to desire 
to better their condition, and (to use the language of the world) 'seek 
to rise in life,' their most valuable energies would never be aroused ; 
and we should not witness that spectacle, which is so common in the 
land we live in,— namely, the successful struggle of manly labour 
against adverse fortune,— a struggle in which the triumph of one gives 
hope to thousands. It is said that necessity is the mother of inven- 
tion ; and the social blessings which are now as common to us as air 
and sunshine, have come from that law of our nature which makes us 
aspire towards indefinite improvement, enriches each successive gene- 
ration by the labours of the last, and in free countries often lifts the 
child of the labourer to a place amongst the rulers of the land. Nay, 
if necessity is the mother of invention, poverty is the creator of the 
arts. If there had been no poverty, and no sense ot poverty, where 
would have been that which we call the wealth of a country ? Sub- 
tract from civilization all that has been produced by the poor, and 
what remains ? — the state of the savage. Where you now see labourer 
and prince, you would see equality indeed— the equality of wild men. 
No; not even equality there ! for there bmte force becomes lorOslup, 



VARIETIES Df ENGLISH LII'E. 97 

—and woe to the weak ! Where you now see some in frieze, some 
in purple, you would see nakedness in all. Where stand the palace 
and the cot, you would behold but mud huts and caves. As far as 
the peasant excels the king among savages, so far does the society 
exalted and enriched by the struggles of labour excel the state iii 
which Poverty feels no disparity, and Toil sighs for no ease. On the 
other hand, if the rich were perfectly contented with their wealth, 
their hearts would become hardened in the sensual enjoyments it 
procures. It is that feeling, by Divine Wisdom implanted in the 
soul, that there is vanity and vexation of spirit in the things of 
Mammon, which still leaves the rich man sensitive to the instincts of 
heaven, and teaches him to seek for happiness in those beneficent 
virtues which distribute his wealth to the profit of others. If you 
could exclude the air from the rays of the fire, the fire itself would 
soon languish and die in the midst of its fuel ; and so a man's joy ir. 
his wealth is kept alive by the air which it warms ; and if pent within 
itself— is extinguished. 

" And this, my brethren, leads me to another view of the vast sub- 
ject opened to us by the words of the apostle — ' Every man shall bear 
his own burden.' The worldly conditions of life are unequal. Why 
are they unequal ? my brethren, do you not perceive ? Think 
you that, if it had been better for our spiritual probation that there 
should be neither great nor lowly, rich nor poor, Providence would 
not so have ordered the dispensations of the world, and so, by its 
mysterious but merciful agencies, have influenced the framework and 
foundations of society ? But if from the remotest period of human 
annals, and in all the numberless experiments of government which 
the wit of man has devised, still this inequality is ever found to exist, 
may we not suspect that there is something in the very principles of 
our nature to which that inequality is necessary and essential ? Ask 
why this inequality? Why? — as well ask why life is the sphere of 
duty and the nursery of virtues ! Por if all men were equal, if there 
were no suffering and no ease, no poverty and no wealth, would you 
not sweep with one blow the half, at least, of human virtues from the 
world ? If there were no penury and no pain, what would become 
of fortitude ?— what of patience ? — what of resignation ? If there 
were no greatness and no wealth, what would become of benevolence, 
of charity ,_ of the blessed human pity, of temperance tn the midst of 
luxury, of justice in the exercise of power ? Carry the question 
further ; grant all conditions the same— no reverse, no rise, and no 
fall— nothing to hope for, nothing to fear — what a moral death you 
would at once inflict upon all the energies of the soul, and what a link 
between the Heart ot man and the Providence of God would be 
snapped asunder ! If we could annihilate evil, we should annihilate 
hope ; and hope, my brethren, is the avenue to faith. If there be ' a 
time to weep and a time to laugh ' it is that he who mourns may 
turn to eternity for comfort, and he who rejoices may bless God 
for the happy hour. Ah ! my brethren, were it possible to an- 
nihilate the inequalities of human life, it would be the banishment 
of our worthiest virtues, the torpor of our spiritual nature, tne 
paisy of our mental faculties. The moral world, like the worid 

VOL. I. U 



'oS 41 Y NOVT.L; on, 

without us, derives its health and its beauty from diversity ana 
contrast. 

" ' Every man shall bear his own burden.' True ; but now turn 
to an earlier verse in the same chapter, — ' Bear ye one another's bur- 
dens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.' les ; whde heaven ordains to 
eacli his peculiar suffering, it connects the family of man into one 
household, by that feeling which, more perhaps than any other, dis- 
tinguishes us from the brute creation — I mean the feeling to which 
we give the name of sympathy — the feeling for each other ! The flock 
heedeth not the sheep that creeps into the shade to die ; but man has 
sorrow and joy not in himself alone, but in the joy and sorrow of 
those around him. He who feels only for himself abjures his very 
nature as man ; for do we not say of one who has no tenderness for 
mankind that he is inhuman ? and do we not call him who sorrows 
with the sorrowful, humane ? 

" Now, brethren, that which especially marked the divine mission 
of our Lord, is the direct appeal to this sympathy which distinguishes 
as from the brute. He seizes, not upon some faculty of genius given 
but to few, but upon that ready impulse of heart which is given to 
us all ; and in saying, ' Love one another,' ' Beai ye one another's 
burdens,' he elevates the most delightful of our emotions into the 
most sacred of His laws. The lawyer asks our Lord, ' Who is my 
neighbour V Our lord replies by the parable of the good Samaritan. 
The priest and the Levite saw the wounded man that fell among the 
thieves, and passed by on the other side. That priest might have 
been austere in his doctrine, that Levite might have been learned in 
the law ; but neither to the learning of the Levite, nor to the doctrine 
of the priest, does our Saviour even deign to allude. He cites but 
the action of the Samaritan, and saith to the lawyer, ' Which now of 
these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among 
the thieves ? And he said, He that showed mercy unto him. Then 
said Jesus unto liim, Go, and do thou likewise.' 

" shallowness of human judgments ! It was enough to be born 
a Samaritan in order to be rejected by the priest, and despised by the 
Levite. Yet now, what to us the priest and the Levite — of God's 
chosen race though they were ? They passed from the hearts of men 
when they passed the sufferer by the wayside ; while this loathed 
Samaritan, half thrust from the pale of the Hebrew, becomes of our 
family, of our kindred ; a brother amongst the brotherhood of Love, 
so long as Mercy and Affliction shall meet in the common thorough- 
fare of Life ! 

" ' Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 5 
Think not, my brethren, that this applies only to almsgiving — to 
that relief of distress which is commonly called charity — to the ob- 
vious duty of devoting, from our superfluities, something that we 
scarcely miss, to the wants of a starving brother. No. I appeal to 
the poorest amongst ye, if the worst burdens are those of the body— 
if the kind word and the tender thought have not often lightened your 
hearts more than bread bestowed with a grudge, and charity that 
humbles you by a frown. Sympathy is a beneficence at the command 
of us all,— yea, of the pauper as of the king ; and sympathy is, Christ's 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH 1AXE. ga 

wealth. Sympathy is brotherhood. The rich are told to have charity 
for the poor, and the poor are enjoined to respect their superiors. 
Good : I say not to the contrary. But I say also to the poor, ' In 
your turn have charity for the rich ; ' and I say to the rich, ' In yout 
turn respect the poor.' 

" ' Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.' 
Thou, poor man, envy not nor grudge thy brother his larger portion 
of worldly goods. Believe that he hath his sorrows and crosses like 
thyself, and perhaps, as more delicately nurtured, he feels them more ; 
nay, hath he not temptations so great that our Lord hath exclaimed 
— ' How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of 
heaven?' And what are temptations but trials? — what are trials 
but perils and sorrows ? Think not that you can bestow no charity on 
the rich man, even while you take your sustenance from his hands. 
A heathen writer, often cited by the earliest preachers of the gospel, 
hath truly said — ' Wherever there is room for a man, there is place 
for a benefit.' 

" And I ask any rich brother amongst you, when he hath gone 
forth to survey his barns and his granaries, his gardens and his 
orchards, if suddenly, in the vain pride of his heart, he sees the scowl 
on the brow of the labourer — if he deems himself hated in the midst 
of his wealth — if he feels that his least faults are treasured up against 
him with the hardness of malice, and his plainest benefits received 
with the ingratitude of envy — I ask, I say, any rich man, whether 
straightway all pleasure in his worldly possessions does not fade from 
his heart, and whether he does not feel what a wealth of gladness it 
is in the power of the poor man to bestow ! For all these things of' 
Mammon pass away : but there is in the smile of him whom we have 
served, a something that we may take with us into heaven. If, then, 
ye bear one another's burdens, they who are poor will have mercy on 
the errors, and compassion for the griefs of the rich. To all men it 
was said, — yes, to Lazarus as to Dives, — ' Judge not, that ye be not 
judged.' But t hink not, rich man, that we preach only to the poor. 
If it be their duty not to grudge thee thy substance, it is thine to do 
all that may sweeten their labour. Remember, that when our Lord 
said, ' How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom 
of heaven,' he replied also to them who asked, ' Who then shall be 
saved ? ' ' The things which are impossible with men are possible with 
God:' that is, man left to his own temptations would fail; but, 
strengthened by God, he shall be saved. If thy riches^ are the tests 
of thy trial, so may they also be the instruments of thy virtues. Prove 
by thy riches that thou art compassionate and tender, temperate and 
benign • and thy riches themselves may become the evidence at once 
of thy faith and of thy works. 

" We have constantly on our lips the simple precept, ' Do unto 
others as you would be done by.' Why do we fail so often in the 
practice? Because we neglect to cultivate that sympathy which 
nature implants as an instinct, and the Saviour exalts as a command 
[f thou wouldst do unto thy neighbour as thou wouldst be done by, 
ponder well how thy neighbour will regard the action thou art aboui 
to do to him. Put thyself into his place. If thou art strong and h( 

h £ 



200 MY XOVEL; OH, 

is weak, descend from thy strength and enter into his weakness ; lay 
aside thy burden for the while, and buckle on his own ; let thy sight 
see as through his eyes — thy heart beat as in his bosom. Do this, and 
thou wilt often confess that what had seemed just to thy power will 
seem harsh to his weakness. For ' as a zealous man hath not done 
his duty when he calls his brother drunkard and beast,' * even so an 
administrator of the law mistakes his object if he writes on the grand 
column of society only warnings that irritate the bold and terrify the 
timid : and a man will be no more in love with law than with virtue, 
' if he be forced to it with rudeness and incivilities.'t If, then, ye 
would bear the burden of the lowly, ye great, feel not only/w- 
them, but with ! Watch that your pride does not chafe them — youi 
power does not wantonly gall. Your worldly inferior is of the class 
from which the Apostles were chosen— amidst which the Lord oi 
Creation descended from a throne above the seraphs.'' 

The Parson here paused a moment, and his eye glanced towards 
the pew near the pulpit, where sat the magnate of Hazeldean. The 
Squire was leaning his chin thoughtfully on his hand, his brow 
inclined downwards, and the natural glow of his complexion much 
heightened. 

" But," — resumed the Parson softly, without turning to his book, 
and rather as if prompted by the suggestion of the moment — " but he 
who has cultivated sympathy commits not these errors, or, if com- 
mitting them, hastens to retract. So natural is sympathy to the good 
man, that he obeys it mechanically when he suffers his heart to be the 
monitor of his conscience. In this sympathy behold the bond between 
ricli and poor ! By this sympathy, whatever our varying worldly lots, 
they become what they were meant to be — exercises for the virtues 
more peculiar to each; and thus, if in the body each man bear hi •» 
own burden, yet in the fellowship of the sold all have common reit' 
in bearing the burdens of each other. 

" This 'is the law of Christ— fulfil it, my flock ! " 

Here the Parson closed his sermon, ;md the congregation bowed 
their heads. 

jKr.KMY Taylor— Of Christian I'mCc'.ce. Part IS. f Ibiu. 



vi.aiETir.s in F,-?fiusH wjs, Kfl 



BOOK III. 

INITIAL CHAPTER. 

SHOWING HOW MY NOVEL CAME TO BE CALLED " MY NOVEL." 

" I am not displeased with your novel, so far as it lias gone," said 
>xy father graciously; " though as for the Sermon " 

Here I trembled ; but the ladies, Heaven bless them! had taken 
Parson Dale under their special protection ; and, observing that my 
father was puckering up his brows critically, they rushed boldly 
forward in defence of The Sermon, and Mr. Caxton was forced to beat 
a retreat. However, like a skilful general, he renewed the assault 
upon outposts less gallantly guarded. But as it is not my business 
to betray my weak points, 1 leave it to the ingenuity of cavillers to 
discover the places at which the author of Human Error directed his 
great guns. 

" But," said the Captain, " yon are a lad of too much spirit, Pisis- 
tratus, to keep us always in the obscure country quarters of Hazel- 
dean — you will march us out into open service before you haw done 
with us ? " 

Pisistratus (magisterially, for he has been somewhat nettled by 
Mr. Caxton's remarks — and lie puts on an air of dignity in order to 
awe away minor assailants). — Yes, Captain Roland — not yet awhile, 
but all in good time. I have not stinted myself in canvas, and benind 
my foreground of the Hall and the Parsonage I propose, hereafter, to 
open some lengthened perspective of the varieties of English life " 

Mr. Caxton. — Hum ! 

Blanche (putting her hand on my father's lip). — We shall know 
better the design, perhaps, when we know the title. Pray, Mr. 
Author, what is the title ? 

My Mother (with more animation than usual).— A v. Sisty — thp 
title! 

Pisistratus (startled).— The title! By the soul of Cervantes! i. 
have never yet thought of a title ! 

Captain Roland (solemnly). — There is a great deal in a good 
title. As a novel-reader, I know that by experience. 

Me. Squills. — Certainly; there is not a catchpenny in the world 
hut what goes down, if the title be apt and seductive. Witness 
" Old Parr's Life Pills." SeU by the thousand, sir, when my " Pills 
for Weak Stomachs," which I believe to be just the same compound, 
never paid for the advertising. 

Mr. Caxton.— Parr's Life Pills ! a fine stroke cf genius ! It is 
«>t every one who has a weak slomach, or time to attend to it. if b« 



-Cy MY NOVEL; OK. 

have, hut who would not swallow a pill to live to a hundred and 
fifty-two ? 

1'isisTKATUs (stirring the fire in great excitement). — My title ! my 
title ! — what shall be my title ? 

Mr. Caxton (thrusting his hand into his waistcoat, and in his 
most didactic of tones). — From a remote period, the choice of a title 
Las perplexed the scribbling portion of mankind. We may guess how 
their invention has been racked by the strange contortions it has 
produced. To begin with the Hebrews. " The Lips of the Sleeping" 
{Labia Dormientium) — what book do you suppose that title to desig- 
nate ? — A Catalogue of Rabbinical Writers ! Again, imagine some 
young lady of old captivated by the sentimental title of " The Pome- 
granate with its Flower," and opening on a Treatise on the Jewish 
Ceremonials ! Let us turn to the Romans. Aulus Gellius commences 
his pleasant gossiping " Noctes " with a list of the titles in fashion in 
his day. For instance, "The Muses" and " The Veil," " The Cornu- 
copia," " The Beehive" and " The Meadow." Some titles, indeed, 
were more truculent, and promised food to those who love to sup 
upon horrors — such as " The Torch" " The Poniard" " The 
Stiletto " 

Pisistratus (impatiently). — Yes, sir ; but to come to My Novel. 

Mr. Caxton (unheeding the interruption). — You see you have a 
fine choice here, and of a nature pleasing and not unfamiliar, to a 
classical reader ; or you may borrow a hint from the early Dramatic 
Writers. 

Pisistratus (more hopefully). — Ay! tnere is something in the 
Drama akin to the Novel. Now, perhaps, I may catch an idea. 

Mr. Caxton. — For instance, the author of the Curiosities of 
Literature (from whom, by the way, I am plagiarising much of the 
information I bestow upon you) tells us of a Spanish gentleman who 
wrote a Comedy, by which he intended to serve what he took for 
Moral Philosophy. 

Pisistratus (eagerly). — Well, sir? 

Mb. Caxton.— And called it "The Pain i/f the Sleep of the 
World." 

Pisistratus. — Very comic indeed, sir. 

Mi;. Caxton. — Grave things were then called Comedies, as old 
things are now called Novels. Then there are all the titles of early 
Romance itself at your disposal — "Theagines and Chariclea," Ctf 
"The Ass" of Longus, or "The Golden Ass" of Apuleius; or the 
titles of Gothic Romance, such as "The most elegant, delicious, 
mellifluous, and delightful History of Percefotest, King of Great 
Britain." — And therewith my father ran over a list of names as long 
as the Directory, and about as amusing. 

" Well, to my taste," said my mother, " the novels I used to read 
when a girl (for I have not read many since, I am ashamed to 
say,) " 

Ms. Caxton. — No, you need not be at all ashamed of it, Kitty. 

My Mother (proceeding) — Were much more inviting than any 
you mention, Austin. 

The Captain. — True. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 103 

Mr. Squills. — Certainly. Nothing like them no\v-a-days! 

My Mother. — " Says she to her Neighbour, What?" 

The Captain. — " The Unknown, or the Northern Gallery" 

Mr. Squills.—" There is a Secret ; f nd it out!" 

Pis:sthatus (pushed to the verge of human endurance, and up- 
setting tongs, poker, and fire-shovel). — What nonsense you are 
talking, all of you ! Tor heaven's sake, consider what an important 
matter we are called upon to decide. It is not now the titles of those 
very respectable works which issued from the Minerva Press that I 
ask you to remember — it is to invent a title for mine — My Novel ! 

Mr. Caxton (clapping his hands gently). — Excellent — capital ! 
Nothing can be better ; simple, natural, pertinent, concise 

Pisistratus. — What is it, sir — what is it? Have you really 
thought of a title to My Novel ? 

Mr. Caxton. — You have hit it yourself — "My Novel." it is your 
Novel — people will know it is your INovel. Turn and twist tin; 
English language as you will — be as allegorical as Hebrew, Greek, 
Roman — Fabulist or Puritan — still, after all, it is your Novel, and 
nothing more nor less than your Novel. 

Pisistratus (thoughtfully, and sounding the words various ways). 
— " My Novel "— um— urn ! " My Novel ! " rather bold— and curt, 
eh? 

Mr. Caxton. — Add what you say you intend to depict — Vat.„tiev; 
in English Life. 

My Mother. — " My Novel ; or, Varieties in English Life" — Idoa'fc 
think it sounds amiss. What say you, Roland ? Would it attract 
you in a catalogue ? 

My uncle hesitates, when Mr. Caxton exclaims imperiously — " The 
thing is settled ! Don't disturb Camarina." 

Squills. — If it be not too great a liberty, pray who or what is 
Camarina ? 

Mr. Caxton. — Camarina, Mr. Squills, was a lake, apt to be low, 
and then liable to be muddy ! and " Don't disturb Camarina," was a 
Greek proverb derived from an Oracle of Apollo ; and from that Greek 
proverb, no doubt, comes the origin of the injunction, " Qtdeta non 
movere," which became the favourite maxim of Sir Robert Walpolo 
and Parson Dale. The Greek line, Mr. Squills (here my father'-, 
memory began to warm), is preserved by Stephanus Byzaxtinus, 
de Urbibus, 

" Mi) k'ivu JLafiapivav, d.KivrjTOQ yap dfieivwv ." 

Zencbius explains it in his proverbs ; Suidas repeats Zenobius : 
Lucian alludes to it ; so does Virgil in the Third Book of the 
iENEro ; and Silius Italicus imitates Virgil — 

" Et cui non licltum fatis Camarina moveri." 

.-'arson Dale, as a clergyman and a scholar, had, no doubt, these 
authorities at his fingers' end. " And I wonder he did not quote them," 
quoth my father ; "but, to be sure, he is represented as a mild man, 
and so might not wish to humble the Squire overmuch in the pre- 
sence of his family. Meanwhile. My Novel is My Novel ; and now 



104 MY NOVEL; OB, 

that that matter is settled, perhaps the tongs, poker, and shovel may 
be picked up, the children may go to bed, Blanche and Kitty may 
speculate apart upon the future dignities of the Neogilos, — taking 
care, nevertheless, to finish the new pinbefores he requires for the 
present ; Roland may cast up his account-book, Mr. Squills have his 
brandy-and-water, and all the world be comfortable, each in his own 
way. Blanche, come away from the screen, get me my slippers, and 
leave Pisistratus to liimself. Sin kIvu Ka/xapivav — don't disturb 
Camarhia. You see, my dear," added my father kindly, as, after set- 
tling himself himself into his slippers, he detained Blanche's hand in 
his own — " you see, my dear, every house has its Camarina. Man, 
who is a lazy animal, is quite content to let it alone ; but woman, 
being the more active, bustling, curious creature, is always for giving 
it a sly stir." 

Blanche (with female dignity). — I assure you, that if Pisistratus 
had not called me, I should not have 

Mb. Caxton (interrupting her, without lifting his eyes from the 
book he has already taken). — Certainly you would not. I am now in 
the midst of the great Oxford Controversy. 3!j) Kim TLapapivav — 
don't disturb Camarina. 

A dead silence for half an hour, at the end of which 

Pisistratus (from behind the screen). — Blanche, my dear, I want 
to consult you. 

Blanche does not stir. 

Pisistkattjs. — Blanche, I say. 

Blanche glances in triumph towards Mr. Caxton. 

Mb. Cvxton (laying down his theological tract, and rubbing his 
spectacles mournfully). — I hear him, child; I hear him, I retract my 
vindication of man. Oracles warn in vain : so long as there is a 
woman on the other side of the screen, — it is all up with Camarina. 



CHAPTER II. 

It is greatly to be regretted that Mr. Stirn was not present at the 
Parson's Discourse— but that valuable functionary was far otherwise 
engaged --indeed, during the summer months he was rarely seen at 
the afternoon service. Not that he cared for being preached at — not 
he : Mr. Stirn would have snapped his fingers at the thunders of the 
Vatican. But the fact was, that Mr. Stirn chose to do a great deal 
of gratuitous business upon the day of rest. The Squire allowed all 
persons who chose to walk about the park on a Sunday ; and many 
came from a distance to stroll by the lake, or recline under the elms. 
These visitors were objects of great suspicion, nay, of positive annoy- 
ance, to Mr. Stirn— and, indeed, not altogether without reason, for 
we English have a natural love of liberty, which we are even more 
apt to display in the grounds of other people than in those which we 
cultivate ourselves. Sometimes, to his inexpressible and fierce satis- 
faction, Mr. Stirn fell upon a lot of boys pelti?ig the swans ; some- 
times he missed a young sapling, and found it in felonious hands, 



VABIEllES I» ENGLISH LIFE. 105 

converted into a walking-stick ; sometimes he caught a hulking fellow 
scrambling up the ha-ha, to gather a nosegay for his sweetheart from 
one of poor Mrs. Hazeldean's pet parterres ; not unfrequently, indeed, 
when all the family were fairly at church, some curious impertinents 
forced or sneaked their way into the gardens, in order to peep hi at 
the windows. For these, and various other offences of like magnitude, 
Mr. Stirn had long, but vainly, sought to induce the Squire to with- 
draw a oermission so villanously abused. But though there were 
times wficn Mr. Hazeldean grunted and growled, and swore " that 
he would shut up the park, and fill it (illegally) with man-traps and 
spring-guns," his anger always evaporated in words. The park way 
still open to all the world on a Sunday ; and that blessed day was 
therefore converted into a day of travail and wrath to Mr. Stirn. But 
it was from the last chime of the afternoon service bell until dusk, 
that the spirit of this vigilant functionary was most perturbed ; for, 
amidst the flocks that gathered from the little hamlets round to the 
voice of the Pastor, there were always some stray sheep, or rather 
climbine, desultory, vagabond goats, who struck off in all perverse 
directions, as if for the special purpose of distracting the energetic 
watchfulness of Mr. Stirn. As soon as church was over, if the day 
were fine, the whole park became a scene animated with red cloaks, 
or lively shawls, Sunday waistcoats, and hats stuck full of wild 
flowers — which last Mr. Stirn often stoutly maintained to be 
Mrs. Hazeldean's newest geraniums. Now, on this Sunday, _ espe- 
pecially, there was an imperative call upon an extr exertion of 
vigilance on the part of the superintendent — he had not only to detect 
ordinary depredators and trespassers; but, first to discover the 
authors of the conspiracy against the stocks ; and, secondly, te 
" make an example." 

He had begun his rounds, therefore, from the early morning ; and 
just as the afternoon bell was sounding its final peal, he emerged 
upon the village green from a hedgerow, behind which he had been at 
watch to observe who had the most suspiciously gathered round the 
stocks. At that moment the place was deserted. At a distance, the 
superintendent saw the fast disappearing forms of some belated 
groups hastening towards the church; in front, the stocks stood 
staring at him mournfully from its four great eyes, which had been 
cleansed from the mud, but still looked bleared and stained with the 
marks of the recent outrage. Here Mr. Stirn paused, took ott' his 
hat, and wiped his brows. 

" If I had sum un, to watch here," thought he, " while I takes a 
turn by the water-side, p'r'aps summat might come out ; p'r'aps them 
as did it ben't gone to church, but will come sneaking round to look 
on their willany ! as they says murderers are always led back to the 
place where they ha' left the body. But in this here willage there 
ben't a man, woman, nor child, as has any consarn for Squire or 
Parish, barring myself." It was just as he arrived at that misan- 
thropical conclusion that Mr. Stirn beheld Leonard Pairfield walking 
very fast from his own home. The superintendent clapped on his 
hat, and stuck his right arm akimbo. " Hollo, you sir," said he, as 
Lenny now came in hearing, " where be you going at that rate ?" 



IOii MY KOVEL; Ob,, 

' Please, sir, I be going to church." 

' Stop, sir— stop, Master Lenny. Going to church ;— why, the 
bell's done ; and you knows the Parson is very angry at them as 
comes in late, disturbing the congregation. You can't p-o to church 
now ! " 

" Please, sir—" 

■' I says you can't go to church now. You must leam to think a 
ittle of others, lad. You sees how I sweats to serve the Squire ! and 
;ou must serve him too. Why, your mother's got the house and 
premishes almost rent free: you ought to have a grateful heart, 
ajeonard Pairfield, and feel for his honour ! Poor man ! his heart is 
well nigh bruk, I am sure, 'with the goings on." 

Leonard opened his innocent blue eyes, while Mr. Stirn dolorously 
wiped his own. 

" Look at that 'ere dumb cretur," said Stirn suddenly, pointing tc 
the stocks — " look at it. If it could speak, what would it say, 
Leonard Fairfield ? Answer me that !— ' Damn the stocks,' indeed !" 

" It was very bad in them to write such naughty words," said 
Lenny gravely. " Mother was quite shocked when she heard of it, 
this morning." 

Mr. Stirn. — I dare say she was, considering what she pays for 
the premishes : (insinuatingly) you does not know who did it — eh, 
Lenny? 

Lenny. — Mo, sir ; indeed I does not ! 

Mr. Stirn. — Well, you see, you can't go to church — prayers half 
over by this time. You recollex that I put them stocks under your 
" srjonsibility," and see the way you's done your duty by 'em. I've 
halt a mind to — 

Mr. Stirn cast his eyes on the eyes of the stocks. 

" Please, sir," began Lenny again, rather frightened. 

" No, I won't please ; it ben't pleasing at all. But I forgives you 
this time, only keep a sharp look-out, lad, in future. Now you just 
stay here — no, there — under the hedge, and you watches if any per- 
sons comes to loiter about, or looks at the stocks, or laughs to hisself, 
while I go my rounds. I shall be back either afore church is over or 
just arter : so you stay till I comes, and give me your report. Be 
sharp, boy, or it will be worse for you and your mother : I can let the 
premishes for four pounds a-year more, to-morrow." 

Concluding with that somewhat menacing and very significant re- 
mark, and not staying for an answer, Mr. Stirn waved his Land, and 
walked off. 

Poor Lenny remained by the stocks, very much dejected, and 
greatly disliking the neighbourhood to which he was consigned. At 
length he slowly crept off to the hedge, and sate himself down in the 
place of espionage pointed out to him. _ Now, philosophers tell us 
that what is called the point of honour is a barbarous feudal preju- 
dice. Amongst the higher classes, wherein tnose feudal prejudices 
may be supposed to prevail, Lenny Fairfield's occupation would not 
have been considered peculiarly honourable ; neither would it have 
seemed so to the more turbrlent spirits among the humbler orders, 
who have a point of honour of their own, which consVts in the ad- 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LliE. iO? 

Berence to each other in defiance of all lawful authority. But to 
Lenny Fairfield, brought up much apart from other boys, and with a 
profound and grateful reverence for the Squire instilled into all his 
habits of thought, notions of honour bounded themselves to simple 
honesty and straightforward truth; and as he cherished an unques- 
tioning awe of order and constitutional authority, so it did not appear 
to him that there was anything derogatory and debasing in beiu-j 
thus set to watch for an offender. On the contrary, as he began to 
reconcile himself to the loss of the church service, and to enjoy the 
cool of the summer shade, and the occasional chirp of the birds, he 
got to look on the bright side of the commission to which he was 
deputed. _ In youth, at least, everything has its bright side — even 
the appointment of Protector to the Parish Stocks. For the stocks 
itself Leonard had no affection, it is true; but he had no sympathy 
with its aggressors, and he could well conceive that the Squire would 
be very much hurt at the revolutionary event of the night. " So," 
thought poor Leonard in his simple heart — " so, if I can serve his 
honour, by keeping off mischievous boys, or letting him know who 
did the thing, I'm sure it would be a proud day for mother." Then 
he began to consider that, however ungraciously Mr. Stirn had be- 
stowed on him the appointment, still it was a compliment to him — 
showed trust and confidence in him, picked him out from his con- 
temporaries as the sober moral pattern boy ; and Lenny had a great 
deal of pride in him, especially in matters of repute and character. 

All these things considered, I say, Leonard Fairfield reclined on 
his lurking-place, if not with positive" delight and intoxicating rapture, 
at least with tolerable content and some complacency. 

Mr. Stirn mighthave been gone a quarter of an hour, when a boy 
came through a little gate in the park, just opposite to Lenny's 
retreat in the hedge, and, as if fatigued with walking, or oppressed 
by the heat of the day, paused on the green for a moment or so, and 
then advanced under the shade of the great tree which overhung the 
stocks. 

Lenny pricked up his ears, and peeped out jealously. 

He had never seen the boy before : it was a strange face to him. 

Leonard Fairfield was not fond of strangers ; moreover, he had a 
vague belief that strangers were at the bottom of that desecration of 
the stocks. The boy, then, was a stranger ; but what was his rank ? 
Was he of that grade in society in which the natural offences are or 
are not consonant to, or harmonious with, outrages upon stocks ? 
On that Lenny Fairfield did not feel quite assured. According to all 
the experience of the villager, the boy was not dressed like a young 
gentleman. Leonard's notions of such aristocratic costume were 
naturally fashioned upon the model of Frank Hazeldean. They 
represented to him a dazzling vision of snow-white trowsers, ana 
beautiful blue coats, and incomparable cravats. Now the dress of 
ibis stranger, though not that of a peasant nor of a farmer, did not 
in any way correspond with Lenny's notions of the costume of a young 
gentleman : it looked to him highly disreputable ; the coat was 
covered with mud, and the hat was all manner of shapes, with a gap 
between the side and crown. 



I OS MY NOVEL; OK, 

Lenny was puzzled, till it suddenly occurred to him that the gate 
through which the boy had passed was in the direct path across th» 
park from a small town, the inhabitants of which were in very bad 
odour at the Hall — they had immemorially furnished the most daring 
poachers to the preserves, the most troublesome trespassers on the 
park, the most unprincipled orchard robbers, and the most disputatious 
asserters of various problematical rights of way, which, according to 
the Town, were public, and, according to the Hall, had been private 
since the Conquest. It was true that the same path led also directly 
from the Squire's house, but it was not probable that the wearer of 
attire so equivocal had been visiting there. All things considered, 
Lenny had no doubt in his mind but that the stranger was a shop- 
boy or 'prentice from the town of Thorndyke ; and the notorious 
repute of that town, coupled with this presumption, made it probable 
that Lenn ynow saw belore him one of the midnight desecrators of 
the stocks. As if to confirm the suspicion, which passed through 
Lenny's mind with a rapidity wholly disproportionate to the number 
of lines it costs me to convey it, the boy, now standing right 
before the stocks, bent down and read that pithy anathema with 
which it was defaced. And having read it he repeated it aloud, and 
Lenny actually saw him smile — such a smile ! — so disagreeable and 
sinister ! Lenny had never before seen the smile Sardonic. 

But what were Lenny's pious horror and dismay when this ominous 
stranger fairly seated himself on the stocks, rested his heels profanely 
on the lids of two of the four round eyes, and, taking out a pencil 
and a pocket-book, began to write. Was this audacious Unknown 
taking an inventory of the church and the Hall for the purposes of 
conflagration ? He looked at one, and at the other, with a strange, 
fixed stare as he wrote — not keeping his eyes on the paper, as Lenny 
had been taught to do when he sat down to his copy-book. The 
fact is, that Randal Leslie was tired and faint, and he felt the shock 
of his fall the more, after the few paces he had walked, so that he 
was glad to rest himself a few moments ; and he took that opportu- 
nity to write a line to Frank, to excuse himself for not calling again, 
intending to tear the leaf on which he wrote out of his pocket-book 
and leave it at the first cottage he passed, with instructions to take it 
to the Hall. 

While Randall was thus innocently engaged, Lenny came up to 
him, with the firm and measured pace of one who has resolved, cost 
what it may, to do his duty. And as Lenny, though brave, was not 
ferocious, so the anger he felt, and the suspicions he entertained, only 
exhibited themselves in the following solemn appeal to the offender's 
sense of propriety, — 

"Ben't you ashamed of yourself? Sitting on the Squire's new 
stocks ! Do get up, and go along with you !" 

Randal turned round sharply ; and though, at any other moment, 
he would have had sense enough to extricate himself very easily from 
his false position, yet, Nemo mortcdium, &c. No one is always wise. 
And Randal was in an exceedingly bad humour. The affability 
towards Ms inferior , for which I lately praised him, was entirely 



VAKIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. Uft 

Jtot in the contempt of impertinent snobs natural to an insulted 
Etonian. 

Therefore, eyeing Lenny with great disdain, Randal answered 
briefly — 

" You are an insolent young blackguard." 

So curt a rejoinder made Lenny's Wood fly to his face. Persuaded 
before that the intruder was some lawless apprentice or shop lad, he 
was now more confirmed in that judgment, not only by language so 
uncivil, but by the truculent glance which accompanied it, and which 
certainly did not derive any imposing dignity from the mutilated, 
rakish, hang-dog, ruinous hat, under which it shot its sullen and 
menacing fire. 

Of all the various articles of which our male attire is composed, 
there is perhaps not one which has so much character and expression 
as the top covering. A neat, well-brushed, short-napped, gentleman- 
like hat, put on with a certain air, gives a distinction and respec- 
tability to the whole exterior; whereas, a broken, squashed, 
higgledy-piggledy sort of a hat, such as Randal Leslie had on, 
would go far towards transforming the stateliest gentleman who 
ever walked down St. James's Street into the ideal of a ruffianly 
scamp. 

Now, it is well known that there is nothing more antipathetic to 
your peasant-boy than a shop-boy. Even on grand political occasions, 
the rural working-class can rarely be coaxed into sympathy with the 
trading town-class. Your true English peasant is always an aristocrat. 
Moreover, and irrespectively of this immemorial grudge of class, there- 
is something peculiarly hostile in the relationship between boy and 
boy when their backs are once up, and they are alone on a quiet bit 
of green. Something of the game-cock feeling — something that 
tends to keep alive, in the population of this island (otherwise so 
lamb-like and peaceful), the martial propensity to double the thumb 
tightly over the four fingers, and make what is called " a fist of it." 
Dangerous symptoms of these mingled and aggressive sentiments were 
visible in Lenny Fairfield at the words and the look of the unpre- 
possessing stranger. And the stranger seemed aware of them ; for 
his pale face grew more pale, and his sullen eye more fixed and more 
vigilant. 

"lou get off them stocks," said Lenny, disdaining to reply to the 
coarse expressions bestowed on him ; and, suiting the action to the 
word, he gave the intruder what he meant for a shove, but what 
Randal took for a blow. The Etonian sprang up, and the quickness. 
of his movement, aided by a slight touch of his hand, made Lenny 
lose his balance, and sent him neck and crop over the stocks. Burning 
with rage, the young villager rose alertly, and flying at Randal, struci 
tiut right and left. 



JtL»> KY NOVEL; OB, 



CHAPTER III. 

Aid me, ye Nine ! whom the incomparable Persius satirised his 
contemporaries for invoking, and then, all of a sudden, invoked on his 
own behalf — aid me to describe that famous battle by the stocks, and 
in defence of the stocks, which was waged by the two representatives 
of Saxon and Norman England. Here, sober support of law and 
duty and delegated trust— fro arts et focis ; there, haughty invasion, 
and bellicose spirit of knighthood, and that respect for name and 
person, which we call " honour." Here, too, hardy physical force- 
there, skilful discipline. Here — The Nine are as deaf as a post, and 
as cold as a stone ! Plague take the jades ! — I can do better without 
them. 

"Randal was a year or two older than Lenny, but he was not so tall 
nor so strong, nor even so active ; and after the first blind rush, when 
the two boys paused, and drew back to breathe, Lenny, eyeing the. 
slight form and hueless cheek of his opponent, and seeing blood 
trickling from Randal's lip, was seized with an instantaneous and 
generous remorse. " It was not fair," he thought, " to fight one 
whom he could beat so easily." So, retreating still farther, and 
letting his arms fall to his side, he said, mildly — " There, let's have 
no more of it ; but go home and be good." 

Randal Leslie had no remarkable degree of that constitutional 
quality called physical courage; but he had some of those moral 
qualities which supply its pkce. He was proud — he was vindictive — 
he had high self-esteem — he had the destructive organ more than the 
combative ; — what had once provoked his wrath it became his instinct 
to sweep away. Therefore, though all his nerves were quivering, 
and hot tears were in his eyes, he approached Lenny with the stern- 
ness of a giadiator, and said, between his teeth, which he set hard, 
choking oack Hie sob of rage and pain — 

" You have struck.me — and you shall not stir from this ground till 
I have made you repent it. Put up your hands — defend yourself." 
_ Lenny mechanically obeyed ; and lie had good need of tne admoni- 
tion ; for if before he had had the advantage, now that Randal had 
recovered the surprise to his nerves, the battle was not to the strong. 

Though Leslie had not been a fighting boy at Eton, still his temper 
had involved him in some conflicts when he was in the lower formr... 
and he had learned something of the art as well as the practice in 
pugilism — an excellent thing too, I am barbarous enough to believe, 
and which I hope will never quite die out of our public schools. Ah, 
many a young duke has been a better fellow for life from a fair set-to 
with a trader's son: and many a trader's son has learned to look 
a lord more manfully in the face on the hustings, from the recot 
lection of the sound thrashing he once gave to some little Lord 
Leopold Dawdle. 

So Randal now brought his experience and art to bear ; put priJa 
♦hose heavy roundabout blows, and darted in his own, quick .aii 



■VARIETIES IN &NGL1SH LIFK. Ill 

sharp — supplying to the natural feebleness of his arm the due 
momentum of pugilistic mechanics. Ay, and the arm, too, was no 
longer so feeble : for strange is the strength that comes from passion 
and pluck ! 

Poor Lenny, who had never fought before, was bewildered; his 
sensations grew so entangled that he could never recall them dis- 
tinctly ; he had a dim reminiscence of some breathless impotent rush 
—of a sudden blindness followed by_ quick flashes of intolerable 
light — of a deadly faintness, from which he was roused by sharp 
pangs — here — there — everywhere; and then all he could remember 
was, that he was lying on the ground, huddled up and panting hard, 
while his adversary bent over him with a countenance as dark and 
livid as Lara himself might have bent over the fallen Otho. For 
Randal Leslie was not one who, by impulse and nature, subscribed 
to the noble English maxim— * Never hit a foe when he is down ;" 
and it cost him a strong if brief self-struggle, not to set his heel on 
that prostrate form. It was the mind, not the heart, that subdued 
the savage within him, as muttering something inwardly — certainly 
not Christian forgiveness— the victor turned gloomily away. 



CHAPTER IV. 

^tist at that precise moment, who should appear but Mr. Stirn ! 
For, in fact, being extremely anxious to get Lennv into disgrace, he 
had hoped that he should have found the young villager had shirked 
the commission entrusted to him ; and the Righthand Mau had slily 
come back, to see if that amiable expectation were realised. He now 
beheld Lenny rising with some difficulty — still panting hard— and 
with hysterical sounds akin to what is vulgarly called blubbering — 
his fine new waistcoat sprinkled with his own blood, which flowed 
from his nose — nose that seemed to Lenny Fairfield's feelings to be a 
nose no more, but a swollen, gigantic, mountainous Slawkenbergian 
excrescence ;— in fact, he felt all nose! Turning aghast from this 
spectacle, Mr. Stirn surveyed, with no more respect than Lenny ha<? 
manifested, the stranger boy, who had again seated himself on th>, 
stocks (whether to recover his breath, or whether to show that his 
victory was consummated, and that he was in his rights of posse;)- 
sion). "Hollo," said Mr. Stirn, "what is all this ?— what's the 
matter, Lenny, you blockhead ? " 

" He will sit there," answered Lenny, in broken gasps, " and he 
has beat me because I would not let him ; but I doesn't mind that," 
added the villager, trying hard to suppress his tears, " aud I'm ready 
again for him — that I am." 
" And what do you do lollopoping there on them blessed stocks ? " 
" Looking at the landscape ; out of my light, man !" 
This tone instantly inspired Mr. Stirn with misgivings : it was a 
tone so disrespectful to him that he was seized with involuntary 
respect ; who But a gentleman could speak so to Mr. Stirn ? 

" And may I ask who you be : " said Stirn falteringly, and half 



112 MY NOVEL; UK, 

inclined to touch his hat. " What's your flame, prwy ? — what's yoiu 
bizness?" 

" My name is Randal Leslie, and my business was to visit you> 
master's family — that is, if you are, as I guess from your manner 
Mr. Hazeldean' s ploughman ! " 

So saying, Randal rose ; and moving on a few paces, turned, and 
throwing half-a-crown on the road, said to Lenny, — " Let that pay 
you for your bruises, and remember another time how you speak to a 
gentleman. As foi you, fellow," — and he pointed his scornful hand 
towards Mr. Stim, who with his mouth open, and Ins hat now fairly 
off, stood bowing to the earth — " as for you, give my compliments to 
Mr. Hazeldean, and say that, when he does us the honour to visit us 
at Hood Hall, I trust that the manners of our villagers will make him 
ashamed of Hazeldean." 

my poor Squire! Rood Hall ashamed of Hazeldean! If that 
message had been delivered to you, you would never have looked up 
again ! 

With those bitter words, Randal swung himself over the stile that 
led into the Parson's glebe, and left Lenny Fail-field still feeling his 
nose, and Mr. Stirn still bowing to the earth. 



CHAPTER V. 

Randal Leslie had a very long walk home; he was bruised and sore 
from head to foot, and his mind was still more sore and more bruised 
than his body. But if Randal Leslie had rested himself in the Squire's 
gardens, without walking backwards, and indulging^ in speculations 
suggest ed by Marat, and wan-anted by My Lord Bacon, he would 
have passed a most agreeable evening, and really availed himself of 
the Squire's wealth by going home in the Squire's carriage. But, 
because he chose to take so intellectual a view of property, he 
tumbled into a ditch ; because he tumbled into a ditch, he spoiled his 
clothes ; because he spoiled his clothes, he gave up his visit ; because 
he gave up his visit, he got in) o the village green, and sat on the 
stocks with a hat that gave him the air of a fugitive from the tread- 
mill ; because he sat on the stocks — with that hat, and a cross face 
under it — he had been forced into the most discreditable squabble 
with a clodhopper, and was now limping home, at war with gods and 
men ; — ergo (this is a moral that will bear repetition) — ergo, when you 
walk in a rich man's grounds, be contented to enjoy what is yours, 
namely, the prospect ; — 1 dare say you will enjoy it more than ho 
does! 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIF2. US 



CHAPTER VI. 



If, in the simplicity of his heart, and the crudity of Ids experience, 
Lenny Fairfield had conceived it probable that Mr. Stirn would 
address tp him some words in approbation of his gallantry, and in 
sympathy for his bruises, he soon found himself woefully mistaken. 
That truly great man, worthy prime-minister of Hazeklcan, might, 
perhaps, pardon a dereliction from his orders, if such dereliction 
proved advantageous to the interests of the service, or redounded to 
the credit of the chief: but he was inexorable to that worst of 
diplomatic offences — an ill-timed, stupid, over-zealous obedience 1o 
orders, which, if it established the devotion of the employe, got the 
employer into what is popularly called a scrape ! And though, by 
those unversed in the intricacies of the human heart, and unacquainted 
with the especial hearts of prime-ministers and right-hand men, it 
might have seemed natural that Mr. Stirn, as he stood still, hat in 
hand, in the middle of the road, stung, humbled, and exasperated by 
the mortification he had received from the lips of Randal Leslie, 
would have felt that that young gentleman was the proper object of 
his resentment ; yet such a breach of all the etique'te of diplomatic 
life as resentment towards a superior power, was the last idea that 
would have suggested itself to the profound intellect of the Premier 
of Hazeldean. Still, as rage, like steam, must escape somewhere, 
Mr. Stirn, on feeling — as he afterwards expressed it to his wife — that 
his "buzzom was a burstin," turned with the natural instinct of self- 
preservation to the safety-valve provided for the explosion ; and the 
vapours within him rushed into vent upon Lenny Fairfield. He 
clapped his hat on his head fiercely, and thus relieved his " buzzom." 

" You young willain ! you howdacious wiper ! and so all this blessed 
Sabbath afternoon, when you ought to have been in church on your 
marrow-bones, a-praying for your betters, you has been a-fitting wdth 
a young gentleman, and a wisiter to your master, on the wery place 
of the parridge hinstitution that you was to guard and perfect ; and 
a-bloodying it all over, I declares, with your blackguard little nose !" 
Thus saying, and as if to mend the matter, Mr. Stirn aimed an addi- 
tional stroke at the offending member ; but, Lenny mechanically 
putting up both arms to defend his face, Mr. Stirn struck his knuckles 
against the large brass buttons that adorned the cuff of the boy's 
ceat-sleeve — an incident which considerably aggravated his indigna- 
tion. And Lenny, whose spirit was fairly roused at what the narrow- 
ness of his education conceived to be a signal injustice, placing the 
trunk of the tree between Mr. Stirn and himself, began that task 
of self -justification which _ it was equally impolitic to conceive and 
imprudent to execute, since, in such a case, to justify was to 
reCffmrinate. 

x wonder at you, Master Stirn, — if mother could hear you ! You 
Know it was you who would not let me go to church ; it was you who 
told rne to " 

tol. I. i 



114 -MY NOVEL; OR, 

" Fit a young gentleman, and break the Sabbath," said Mr. Stirn, 
Interrupting Mm with a withering sneer. " yes ! I told you to 
disgrace his honour the Squire, and me, and the parridge, and bring us 
alt into trouble. But the Squire told me to make an example, and I 
will ! " With those words, quick as lightning flashed upon Mr. 
Stirn' s mind the luminous idea of setting Lenny in the very stocks 
which he had too faithfully guarded. _ Eureka ! the " example" was 
before him ! Here, he could gratify his long grudge against the pat- 
tern boy ; here, by such a selection of the very best lad in the parish, 
he could strike terror into the worst ; here he could appease the 
offended dignity of Randal Leslie ; here was a practical apology to 
the Squire for the affront put upon his young visitor ; here, too, there 
was prompt obedience to the Squire's own wish that the stocks should 
be provided as soon as possible with a tenant. Suiting the action to 
the thought, Mr. Stirn made a rapid plunge at his victim, caught 
him by the skirt of his jacket, and, in a few seconds more, the jaws 
of the stocks had opened, and Lenny Fairfield was thrust therein — a 
sad spectacle of the reverses of fortune. Tins done, and while the 
boy was too astounded, too stupified by the suddenness of the cala- 
mity for the resistance he might otherwise have made — nay, for more 
than a few inaudible words — Mr. Stirn hurried from the spot, but 
not without first picking up and pocketing the half-crown designed 
for Lenny, and which, so great had been Ins first emotions, he had 
hitherto even almost forgotten. He then made his way towards the 
church, with the intention to place himself close by the door, catch 
the Squire as he came out, whisper to him what had passed, and lead 
him, with the whole congregation at his heels, to gaze upon the 
sacrifice offered up to the joint Powers of Nemesis and Themis. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Unaffectedly I say it — upon the honour of a gentleman, and the 
reputation of an author, unaffectedly I say it — no words of mine can 
do justice to the sensations experienced by Lenny Fairfield, as he 
sat alone in that place of penance. He felt no more the physical 
pain of his bruises ; the anguish of his mind stifled and overbore aU 
corporeal suffering — an anguish as great as the childish breast is 
capable of holding. For first and deepest of all, and earliest felt, was 
the burning sense of injustice. He had, it might be with erring judg- 
ment, but with all honesty, earnestness, and zeal, executed the com- 
mission intrusted to him ; he had stood forth manfullv in discharge 
of his duty ; he had fought for it, suffered for it, bled for it. This 
was his reward ! Now, m Lenny's mind there was pre-eminently 
that quakty which distinguishes the Anglo-Saxon race— the sense of 
justice. It was perhaps the strongest principle in his moral consti- 
tution ; and the principle had never lost its virgin bloom and fresh- 
ness by any of the minor acts of oppression and iniquity which boys 
of higher birth often suffer from harsh parents, or in tyrannical 
schools. So that it was for the first time that that iron entered into his 



VARIETIES IN JSKGi/iSU LIl'E. )i& 

soul, and Tfith it came its attendant feeling — the wrathful, galling 
sense of impotence. He had been wronged, and he had no means to 
right himself. Then came another sensation, if not so deep, yet 
more smarting and envenomed for the time — shame ! He, the good 
boy of all good boys — he, the pattern of the school, and the pride of 
the Parson— he, whom the Squire, in sight of all his contemporaries, 
had often singled out to slap on the back, and the grand Squire's 
lady to pat on the head, with a smiling gratulation on his young and 
fair repute — he, who had already learned so dearly to prize the sweets 
of an honourable name — he, to be made, as it were, in the twinkling 
of an eye, a mark for opprobrium, a butt of scorn, a jeer, and a by- 
word ! The streams of his life were poisoned at the fountain. And 
then came a tenderer thought of his mother ! of the shock this would 
be to her— she who had already begun to look up to him as her stay 
and support: he bowed his head, and the tears, long suppressed, 
rolled down. 

Then he wrestled and struggled, and strove to wrench his limbs 
from that hateful bondage ; — for he heard steps approaching. And 
he began to picture to himself the arrival of all the villagers from 
church, the sad gaze of the Parson, the bent brow of the Squire, the 
idle, ill-suppressed titter of all the boys, jealous of his unspotted cha- 
racter—character of which the original whiteness could never, never 
be restored! He would always be the boy who had sat in the 
stocks ! And the words uttered by the Squire came back on his 
soul, like the voice of conscience in the ears oi some doomed Macbeth. 
"A sad disgrace, Lenny — you'll never be in such a quandary." 
" Quandary," the word was unfamiliar to him ; it must mean some- 
thing awfully discreditable. The poor boy could have prayed for 
the earth to swallow him. 



CHAPTER VIU. 

" Kettles and frying-pans ! what has us here ? " cried the Tinkei. 

This time Mr. Sprott was without his donkey ; for it being Sunday, 
it is to be presumed that the donkey was enjoying his Sabbath on 
the Common. The Tinker was in his Sunday's best, clean and smart, 
about to take his lounge in the park. 

Lenny Fairfield made no answer to the appeal. 

" You in the wood, my baby ! Well, that's the last sigl^ I should 
ha' thought to see. But, we all lives to larn," added the Tinker, 
sententiously. "Who gave you them leggings? Can't you speak, 
lad ? " 

" Nick Stirn." 

" Nick Stirn ! Ay, I'd ha' ta'cn my davy on that . and cos vy ? '' 

"'Cause I did as he told me, and fought a boy as was trespassing 
on these very stocks ; and he beat me— but I don't care for that ; 
and that boy was a young gentleman, and going to visit the Squire : 
and so Nick Stirn—" Lenny stopped short, choked by rage and 
humiliation. 

" Augh," said the Tinker, staring, " you fit with a young gentle 

S 



lift irv NOVEL; On, 

man, did you? Sorry to hear you confess that, my lad! Sit there, 
and be thankful you ha' got off so cheap. "lis salt and battery to fit 
with your betters, and a Lunnon justice o' peace would have given 
vou two months o' the treadmill. But vy should you fit -,os be tres- 
passed on the stocks ? It ben't your natural side lor fitting, I 
fakes it." 

Lenny murmured something not very distinguishable about serving 
the Squire, and doing as he was bid. 

" Oh, I sees, Lenny," interrupted the Tinker, in a tone of great 
contempt, " you be one of those who would rayther 'unt with the 
'ounds than run with the 'are ! You be's the good pattern boy, and 
would peach agin your own border to curry favour with the grand 
folks. Fie, lad ! you be sarved right ; stick by your border, then 
you'll be 'spected when you gets into trouble, and not be 'varsally 
'spised — as you'll be arter church-time ! Yell, I can't be seen 'sorting 
with you, now you are in this drogotary fix • it might hurt my cracter, 
both with them as built the stocks, and them as wants to pull 'em 
down. Old kettles to mend ! Vy, you makes me forgit the Sabbath. 
Sarvent, my lad, and wish you well out of it ; 'specks to your mother, 
and say we can deal for the pan and shovel all the same for your 
misfortin." 

The Tinker went his way. Lenny's eye followed him with the sul- 
lenness of despair. The Tinker, like all the tribe of human comforters, 
had only watered the brambles to invigorate the prick of the thorns. 
Yes, if Lenny had been caught breaking the stocks, some at least 
would have pitied him ; but to be incarcerated for defending them, 
you might as well have expected that the widows and orphans of the 
.Reign of Terror would have pitied Dr. Guillotin when he slid through 
the grooves of his own deadly machine. And even the Tinker, iti- 
nerant, ragamuffin vagabond as he was, felt ashamed to be found with 
the pattern boy ! Lenny's head sank again on his breast heavily, as 
if it had been of lead. Some few minutes thus passed, when the 
unhappy prisoner became aware of the presence of another spectator 
to his shame : he heard no step, but he saw a shadow thrown over 
the sward. He held his breath, and would not look up, with some 
vague idea that if he refused to see him, he might escape being 
seen. 



CHAPTER IX. 

"Per Bacco!" said Dr. "Riccabocca, putting his hand on Lenny's 
shoulder, and bendmg down to look into his face — "Per Bacco ! my 
young friend ; do you sit here from choice, or necessity ? " 

Lenny slightly shuddered, and winced under the touch of one 
whom he had hitherto regarded with a sort of superstitious abhor- 
rence. 

" I fear," resumed Biccabocca, after waiting in vain for an answer 
to his question, " that, though the situation is charming, you did not 
seiect it yourself. 'What is this ? " — and the irony of the tone vanished 
- "what is this, my poor boy? lou have been bleeding, and I see 



VARIETIES IN EMH.ISH LIFE. 11? 

that those tears which you try to check come from a deep well. Tel! 
me, povero fanciullo mio (the sweet Italian vowels, though Lenny did 
not understand them, sounded softly and soothingly) — tell me, my 
child, how all this happened. Perhaps I can help you — we have all 
erred ; we should all help each other." 

Lenny's heart, that just before had seemed hound in brass, tounU 
itself a way as the Italian spoke thus kindly, and the tears rushed 
down : hut he again stopped them, and gulped out sturdily, — 

_ " I nave not done no wrong ; it ben't my fault — and 'tis that which 
kills me ! " concluded Lenny, with a burst of energy. 

" You have not done wrong ? Then," said the philosopher, draw- 
ing out his pocket-handkerchief with great composure, and spreading 
it on the ground — " then I may sit beside you. I could only stoop 
pityingly over sin, but I can lie down on equal terms with mis- 
fortune." 

Lenny Fairfield did not quite comprehend the words, but enough ol 
their general meaning was apparent to make him cast a grateful 
glance on the Italian. Riccabocca resumed, as he adjusted the 
pocket-handkerchief, "I have a right to your confidence, my child, 
for I have been afflicted in my day ; yet I too say with thee, ' I have 
not done wrong.' Cospetto ! " and here the Doctor seated himself deli- 
berately, resting one arm on the side-column of the stocks, in familiar 
contact with the captive's shoulder, while his eye wandered over the 
lovely scene around — " Cospetto ! my prison, if they had caught me, 
would not have had so fair a look-out as tins. But, to be sure, it is 
all one ; there are no ugly loves, and no handsome prisons." 

With that sententious maxim, which, indeed, he uttered in his 
native Italian, Riccabocca turned round, and renewed his soothing invi- 
tations to confidence. A friend in need is a friend indeed, even if he 
come in the guise of a Papist and wizard. All Lenny's ancient dis- 
like to the foreigner had gone, and he told him his Utile tale. 

Dr. Riccabocca was much too shrewd a man not to see exactly the 
motives which had induced Mr. Stirn to incarcerate his agent (barring 
only that of personal grudge, to which Lenny's account gave him no 
clue). That a man high in office should make a scape- goat of his own 
watch-dog for an unlucky snap, or even an indiscreet bark, was nothing 
strange to the wisdom of the student of Machiavelli. However, he 
set himself to the task of consolation with equal philosophy and ten- 
derness. He began by reminding, or rather informing, Leonard 
Fairfield of all the instances of illustrious men afflicted by the injustice 
of others that occurred to his own excellent memory. He told him 
flow the great Epictetus, when in slavery, had a master whose favourite 
amusement was pinching his leg, which, as the amusement ended in 
breaking that limb, was worse than the stocks. He also told him the. 
anecdote of Lenny's own gallant countryman, Admiral Byng, whose 
execution gave rise to Voltaire's celebrated witticism, " En Angletenx 
on tue un amiral pour encourager les autres " (" In England they exe- 
cute one admiral in order to encourage the others"). Many other 
illustrations, still more pertinent to the case in point, his erudition 
supplied from the stores of history. But on seeing that Lenny did 
not seen, ii* the slightest degree consoled by these memorable exam- 



118 J£T NOVV.L; On, 

pies, he shifted his ground, and reducing his logic to the strict argu 
mentum ai rem, began to prove, 1st, that there was no disgrace at ah 
in Lenny's present position, — that every equitable person would 
recognise the tyranny of Stirn, and the innocence of its victim ; 2dly, 
that if even here he were mistaken — for public opinion was not always 
righteous, — what was public opinion, after all ? — "A breath, — a puff," 
cried Dr. Riccabocca — "a thing without matter, — without length, 
breadth, or substance ; a shadow, — a goblin of our own creating. A 
man's own conscience is his sole tribunal, and he should care no more 
for that phantom ' opinion ' than he should fear meeting a ghost if ha 
cross the churchyard at dark." 

Now, as Lenny did very much fear meeting a ghost if he crossed 
the churchyard at dark, the simile spoiled the argument, and he 
shook his head very mournfully. Dr. Riccabocca was about to enter 
into a third course of reasoning, which, had it come to an end, would 
doubtless have settled the matter, and reconciled Lenny to sitting in 
the stocks till doomsday, when the captive, with the quick ear and 
eve of terror and calamity, became conscious that church was oyer, 
that the congregation in a few seconds more would be flocking 
tliitherwards. He saw visionary hats and bonnets through the trees, 
which Riccabocca saw not, despite all the excellence of his spectacles 
— heard phantasmal rustlings and murmurings which Riccabocca 
heard not, despite all that theoretical experience in plots, stratagems, 
and treasons, which should have made the Italian's ear as fine as 
a conspirator's or a mole's. And, with another violent but vain 
effort at escape, the prisoner exclaimed — 

" Oh, if I could but get out before they come ! Let me out — let 
me out. 0, kind sir, have pity — let me out-! " 

" Diavolo /" said the philosopher, startled, " I wonder that I never 
thought of that before. After all, I believe he has hit the right 
nail on the head," and, looking close, he perceived that though the 
partition of wood had hitched firmly into a sort of spring-clasp, which 
defied Lenny's unaided struggles, still it was not locked (for, indeed, 
the padlock and key were snug in the justice-room of the Squire, who 
never dreamt that his orders would be executed so literally and sum- 
marily as to dispense with all formal appeal to himself). As soon as 
Dr. Riccabocca made that discovery, it occurred to him that all 
the wisdom of all the schools that ever existed can't reconcile man or 
boy to a bad position — the moment there is a fan- opportunity of 
letting him out of it. Accordingly, without more ado, he lifted up the 
creaking board, and Lenny Fan-field darted forth like a bird from 
a cage — halted a momem. as if for breath, or in joy ; and then, taking 
at once to his heels, fled, as a hare to its form — fast to his mother's 
home. 

Dr. Riccabocca dnppfcd the yawning wood mto its place, picked 
up his handkerchief and restored it to his pocket;; and then, with 
some curiosity, began to examine the nature of that place of duresse 
which had caused so _ much painful emotion to its rescued victim. 
" Man is a very irrational animal at best," quoth the sage, solilo- 
quising, " and is frightened by strange buggabooes ! 'Tis but a piece 
uf wood ! how little it really injures ! And, after all, the holes arr 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 11! 

bat rests to the legs, and keep the feet out of the dirt. And this, 
green bank to sit upon — under the shade of the elm-tree— verily the 
position must be more pleasant than otherwise ! I've a great mind 

" Here the Doctor looked around, and, seeing the coast still 

clear, the oddest notion imaginable took possession of him ; vet not 
indeed a notion so odd, considered philosopldcaEy — for all philosophy 
is based on practical experiment — and Dr. Kiccaboeca felt an irresist- 
ible desire practically to experience what manner of thing that 
punishment of the stocks really was. " I nan but try ! only for 
a moment," said he, apologetically to his own expostulating sense of 
dignity. " I have time to do it before any one comes." He lifted up 
the partition again : but stocks are built on the time principle of 
English law, and don't easily allow a man to criminate himself — it 
was hard to get into them without the help of a friend. However, as 
we before noticed, obstacles only whetted Dr. Kiccaboeca' s invention. 
He looked round, and saw a withered bit of stick under the tree — tins 
he inserted in the division of the stocks, somewhat in the manner 
in which boys place a stick under a sieve for the purpose of ensnaring 
sparrows : the fatal wood thus propped, Dr. Kiccaboeca sat gravely 
down on the bank, and thrust his feet through the apertures. 

"Nothing in it ! " cried he triumphantly, after a moment's delibe- 
ration. "The evil is only in idea. Such is the boasted reason 
of mortals!" With that reflection, nevertheless, he was about to 
withdraw his feet from their voluntary dilemma, when the crazy stick 
suddenly gave way, and the partition fell back into its clasp. Dr. 
Riccabocca was fairly caught — " Facilis descensus — sed revocare gra- 
dum ! " True, his hands were at liberty, but his legs were so long 
that, being thus fixed, they kept the hands from the rescue ; and 
as Dr. Kiccaboeca' s form was by no means supple, and the twin parts 
of the wood stuck together with that firmness of adhesion which things 
newly-painted possess, so, after some vain twists and contortions, 
in which he succeeded at length (not without a stretch of the sinews 
that made them crack again) in finding the clasp and breaking his 
nails thereon, the victim of his own rash experiment resigned himseh 
to his fate. Dr. Kiccaboeca was one of those men who never do 
thingsby halves. When I say he resigned himself, I mean not only 
Christian but philosophical resignation. The position was not quite 
so pleasant as, theoretically, he had deemed it ; but he resolved to 
make himself as comfortable as he could. At first, as is naturc.1 in all 
troubles to men who have grown familiar with that odoriferous com- 
forter which Sir Walter Kaleigh is said first to have bestowed upon 
the Caucasian races, the Doctor made use of his hands to extract 
from his pocket his pipe, match-box, and tobacco-pouch. After a few 
whiffs, he would have been quite reconciled to his situation, but for 
the discovery that the sun had shifted its place in the heavens, and 
was no longer shaded from his face by the elm-tree. The Doctor 
again looked round, and perceived that his red silk umbrella, which 
he had laid aside when he had seated himself by Lenny, was 'within 
arm's reach. Possessing himself of this treasure, he soon expanded 
its friendly folds. And thus, doubly fortified within and without, 
wider shade of the umbrella, and his pipe composedly between his 



120 MY NOVEL; OK, 

lips, Dr. Riecabocca gazed on Iris own incarcerated legs, even witi 
complacency. 

" ' He who can despise all things,' " said he, in one of his native 
proverbs, "'possesses all tilings ! '—if one despises freedom, one is 
tree ! This seat is as soft as a sofa ! I am not sure," he resumed, 
soliloquising, after a pause— "I am not sure that there is not some- 
thing more witty than manly and philosophical in that national pro- 
verb of mine which I quoted to the fanciullo, ' that there are no 
handsome prisons ! ' Did not the son of that celebrated Frenchman, 
surnamed Bras cle Fer, write a book not only to prove that adversities 
are more necessary than prosperities, but that among all adversities a 
prison is the most pleasant and profitable ?* But is not this condition 
of mine, voluntarily and experimentally incurred, a type of mv life r 
Is it the first time that I have thrust myself into a hobble ?— and if in 
a hobble of mine own choosing, why should I blame the gods ? " 

Upon this, Dr. Riecabocca fell into a train of musing so remote 
from time and place, that in a few minutes he no more remembered 
that he was in the parish stocks than a lover remembers that flesh is 
grass, a miser that mammon is perishable, a philosopher that wisdom 
is vanity. Dr. Riecabocca was in the clouds. 



CHAPTER X. 

The dullest dog that ever wrote a novel (and, entre nous, reader— 
but let it go no farther — we have a good many dogs among the 
fraternity that are not Munitost) might have seen with half an eye 
that the Parson's discourse had produced a very genial and humanizing 
effect upon his audience. When all was over, and the congregation 
stood up to let Mr. Hazeldcan and his family walk first down the 
aisle (for that was the custom at Hazeldean), moistened eyes glanced 
at the Squire's sun-burned manly face, with a kindness that bespoke 
revived memory of many a generous benefit and ready service. The 
head might be wrong now and then — the heart was in the right place 
after all. And the lady, leaning on his arm, came in for a large share 
of that gracious good feeling. True, she now and then gave a little 
offence when the cottages were not so clean as she fancied they ought 
to be — and poor folks don't like a liberty taken with their houses any 
more than the rich do ; true that she was not quite so popular with 
the wo^ien as the Squire was, for, if the husband went too often to 
the ale-house, she always laid the fault on the wife, and said, " No 
man would go out of doors for his comforts, if he had a smiling face 
and a clean hearth at his home ;" whereas the Squire maintained the 
more gallant opinion, that " if Gill was a shrew, it was because Jack 
did not, as in duty bound, stop her mouth with a kiss ! " Still, not- 
withstanding these more obnoxious notions on her part, and a certain 
awe inspired by the stiff silk gown and the handsome aquiline nose, it 

* "Entre tout, V (tat d'une prison est le plus doux, est le plus profitable ! " 
t Munito was the name of a dog famous for his learning (a Porson of a dog) sl\ 
the (late of my childhood. There are no such dogs now a-dajs. 



VARIETIES IN' EXGI.1SH LIfE. iS^ 

was impossible, especially in the softened tempera of that Sunday 
afternoon, not to associate the honest, comely, beaming countenance 
of Mrs. Hazeldean with comfortable recollections of soups, jellies, and 
wine in sickness, loaves and blankets in winter, cheering words and 
ready visits in every little distress, and pretexts afforded by improve 
nient in the grounds and gardens (improvements which, as the Squire, 
who preferred productive labour, justly complained, "would never 
finish") for little timely jobs of work to some veteran grandsire, who 
still liked to earn a penny, or some ruddy urchin in a family that 
" came too fast." Nor was Frank, as he walked a little behind, in the 
whitest of trousers and the stiffest of neckcloths — with a look of sup- 
pressed roguery in his bright hazel eye, that contrasted his assumed 
stateliness of mien — without his portion of the silent blessing. Not 
that he had done anything yet to deserve it ; but we all give youlh so 
large a credit in the future. As for Miss Jemima, her trifling foibles 
only rose from too soft and feminine a susceptibility, too ivy-like a 
yearning for some masculine oak whereon to entwine her tendrils : 
and so little confined to self was the natural lovingness of her dispo- 
sition, that she had helped many a village lass to find a husband, bj 
the bribe of a marriage gift from her own privy purse ; notwithstanding 
the assurances with which she accompanied the marriage gift, — viz., 
that " the bridegroom would turn out like the rest of Ms ungrateful 
sex ; but that it was a comfort to think that it would be all one in 
the approaching crash." So that she had her warm partisans, espe- 
cially amongst the young ; while the slim Captain, on whose arm she 
rested her forefinger, was at least a civil-spoken gentleman, who had 
never done any harm, and who would, doubtless, do a deal of good if 
he belonged to the parish. Nay, even the fat footman, who came 
last, with the family Prayer-book, had his due share in the general 
association of neighbourly kindness between hall and hamlet. Few 
were there present to whom he had not extended the right-hand of 
fellowship with a full horn of October in the clasp of it ; and he was a 
Hazeldean man, too, born and bred, as two-thirds of the Squire's 
household (now letting themselves out from their large pew under the 
gallery) were. 

On his part, too, you could see that the Squire was "moved 
withal," and a littled humbled moreover. Instead of walking erect, 
and taking bow and curtsey as a matter of course, and of no meaning, 
he hung his head somewhat, and there was a slight blush on his 
cheek ; and as he glanced upward and round him — shyly, as it were 
—and his eye met those friendly looks, it returned them with an 
earnestness that had in it something touching as well as cordial — an 
eye that said, as well as eye could say, " I don't quite deserve it, I 
fear, neighbours ; but I thank you for your good- will with my whole 
heart." And so readily was that glance of the eye understood, that I 
think, if that scene had taken place out of doors instead of in the 
church, there would have been a hurrah as the Squire passed out of 
sight. 

Scarcely had Mr. Hazeldean got clear ol the churchyard, ere Mr 
Stirn was whispering in his ear. As Stirn whispered, the Squire's 
face grew long, and his colour rose. The congregation, now flocking 



122 MY NOVEL; Oil, 

out ol' the church, exchanged looks with each other ; that ominous 
conjunction between Squire and man chilled back all the effects of 
the Parson's sermon. The Squire struck his cane violently into the 
ground. "I would rather you had told me Black Bess had got the 
glanders. A young gentleman, coming to visit my son, struck and 
insulted in Hazeldean ; a young gentleman — 'sdeath, sir, a relation— 
his grandmother was a Hazeldean. I do believe Jemima's right, and 
the world's coming to an end ! But Leonard Fairfield in the stocks ! 
What will the Parson say, and after such a sermon ! ' Rich man, 
respect the poor ! ' And the good widow too ; and poor Mark, who 
almost died in my arms. Stim, you have a heart of stone I You 
confounded, lawless, merciless miscreant, who the deuce gave you the 
right to imprison man or boy in my parish of Hazeldean without trial, 
sentence, or warrant ? Run and let the boy out before any one sees 
him : run, or I shall— - — " The Squire elevated the cane, and his 
eyes shot fire. Mr. Stirn did not run, but he walked off very fast. 
The Squire drew back a few paces, and again took his wife's arm. 
" Just wait a bit for the Parson, while I talk to the congregation. I 
want to stop 'em all, if I can, from going into the village ; but how ?" 

Prank heard, and replied readily — 

" Give 'em some beer, sir," 

" Beer ! on a Sunday ! Por shame, Prank !" cried Mrs. Hazeldean. 

" Hold your tongue, Harry. Thank you, Prank," said the Squire, 
and his brow grew as clear as the blue sky above him. I doubt if 
Riccabocca could have got him out of his dilemma with the same ease 
as Prank had done. 

" Halt there, my men — lads and lasses too — there, halt a bit. Mrs. 
Fairfield, do you hear ? — halt. 1 think his reverence has given us a 
capital sermon. Go up to the Great House all of you, and drink a 
glass to his health. Prank, go with them, and tell Spruce to tap one 
of the casks kept for the haymakers. — Harry [this in a whisper], 
catch the Parson, and tell him to come to me instantly." 

" My dear Hazeldean, what has happened ? you are mad." 

" Don't bother— do what I tell you." 

" But where is the Parson to find you ?" 

" Where, gad zooks, Mrs. H, — at the Stocks, to be sore ' " 



CHAPTER XI. 

Da. Riccabocca, awakened out of his reverie by the sound ot foot- 
steps, was still so little sensible of the indignity of his position, that 
he enjoyed exceedingly, and with all the malice of his natural humour, 
the astonishment and stupor manifested by Stirn, when that func- 
tionary beheld the extraordinary substitute which fate and philosophy 
had found for Lenny Pah-field. Instead of the weeping, crushed, 
broken-hearted captive whom he had reluctantly come to deliver, he 
stared, speecMess and aghast, upon the grotesque but tranquil figure 
of the Doctor, enjoying his pipe, and cooling himself under his 
umbrella, with a sang-froid that was truly appalling and diabolical. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LI?£. 123 

Indeed, considering that Stirn always suspected the Papisher of 
having had a hand in the whole of that black and midnight business, 
in which the stocks had been broken, bunged up, and consigned to 
perdition, and that the Papisher had the evil reputation of dabbling 
in the Black Art, the hocus-pocus way in which the Lenny he had 
incarcerated was transformed into the Doctor he found, conjoined 
with the peculiarly strange, eldritch, and Mephistophelean physio- 
gnomy and person of Eiccabocca, could not but strike a thrill of super- 
stitious dismay into the breast of the parochial tyrant. ^Yhile to his 
first confused and stammered exclamations and interrogatories, Ricca- 
bocca replied with so tragic an air, such ominous shakes of the head, 
such mysterious, equivocating, long-worded sentences, that Stirn 
every moment felt more and more convinced that the boy had sold 
himself to the Powers cf Darkness ; and that he himself prematurely, 
and in the flesh, stood face to face with the Arch-Enemy. 

Mr. Stirn had not yet recovered liis wonted intelligence, which, to 
do him justice, was usually prompt enough— when the Squire, followed 
hard by the Parson, arrived at the spot. _ Indeed, Mrs. Hazeldean's 
report of the Squire's urgent message, disturbed manner, and most 
unparalleled invitation to the parishioners, had given wings to Parson 
Dale's ordinarily slow and sedate movements. And while the Squire, 
sharing Stirn's amazement, beheld indeed a great pair of feet project- 
ing from the stocks, and saw behind them the grave face of Doctor 
TLiccabocca, under the majestic shade of the umbrella, but not a ves- 
tige of the only being his mind could identify with the tenancy of the 
stocks, Mr. Dale, catching him by the arm, and panting hard, ex- 
claimed with a petulence he had never before been known to display 
— except at the whist-table, — 

" Mr. Hazeldean, Mr. Hazeldean, 1 am scandalised — I am shocked 
at you. I can bear a great deal from you, sir, as I ought to do ; but 
to ask my whole congregation, the moment after divine service, to go 
up and guzzle ale at the Hall, and drink my health, as if a clergy- 
man's sermon had been a speech at a cattle-fair ! I am ashamed of 
you, and of the parish ! What on earth has come to you all ?" 

" That's the very question I wish to Heaven I could answer," 
groaned the Squire, quite mildly and pathetically — " What on earth 
has come to us all! Ask Stirn :" (then bursting out) " Stirn, you 
infernal rascal, don't you hear ?— what on earth has come to us all?" 

" The Papisher is at the bottom of it, sir," said Stirn, provoked 
out of all temper. " I does my duty, but I is but a mortal man, 
arter all." 

" A mortal fiddlestick — where's Leonard Pah-field, I say?" 

" Him knows best," answered Stim, retreating mechanically, for 
safety's sake, behind the Parson, and pointing to Dr. Biccabocca. 
Hitherto, though both the Squire and Parson had indeed recognised 
the Kalian, they had merely supposed him to be seated on the bank. 
It never entered into their heads that so respectable and dignified a 
man could by any possibility be an inmate, compelled or voluntary, of 
the Parish Stocks. No, not even though, as I before said, the Squire 
had seen, just under his nose, a very long pair of soles inserted in the 
apertures — that sight had only confused and bewildered him, unac- 



12l MY XOVEL; OK, 

companied, as it ought to have been, with the trunk and face of 
Lenny Fairfield. Those soles seemed to him optical delusions, phan- 
toms of the overheated brain ; but now, catching hoid of Stirn, while 
the Parson in equal astonishment caught hold of him— the Squire 
faltered out, " "Well, this beats cockfighting ! The man's as mad as 

March hare, and has taken Dr. Rickcybockey for little Lenny ! " 

" Perhaps," said the Doctor, breaking silence with a bland smile, 
ind attempting an inclination of the head as courteous as his position 
would permit — " perhaps, if it be quite the same to you, before you 
proceed to explanations, you will just help me out of the stocks." 

The Parson, despite his perplexity ana anger, coidd not repress a 
smile, as he approached his learned friend, and bent down for the 
purpose of extricating him. 

" Lord love your reverence, you'd better not ! " cried Mr. Stirn. 
" Don't be tempted— he only wants to get you into his claws. I 
would not go a-near him for all the " 

The speech was interrupted by Dr. Riccabocca himself, who now, 
thanks to the Parson, had risen into his full height, and half a head 
taller than all present — even than the tall Squire — approached Mr. 
Stirn, with a gracious wave of the hand. Mr. Stirn retreated rapidly 
towards the hedge, amidst the brambles of which he plunged himself 
incontinently. 

" I guess whom you take me for, Mr. Stirn," said the Italian, lift- 
ing his hat with his characteristic politeness. " It is certainly a great 
honour : but you will know better one of these days, when the gen- 
tleman in question admits you to a personal interview in another and 
— a hotter world." 



CHAPTER XII. 

" But how on earth did you get into my new stocks?" asked the 
Squire, scratching his head. 

" Mv dear sir, Pliny the elder got into the crater of Mount Etna." 

"Did he, and what for?" 

" To try what it was like, I suppose," answered Riccabocca. 

The Squire burst out a-laughing. 

" And so you got into the stocks to try what it was like._ Well, 1 
can't wonder — it is a very handsome pair of stocks," continued the 
Squire, with a loving look at the or ject of his praise. " Nobody need 
be ashamed of being seen in those stocks — I should not mind it 
myself." 

" We had better move on," said the Parson, dryly, " or we shall 
have the whole village here presently, gazing on the lord of the manor 
in the same predicament as that from which we have just extricated 
the Doctor. Now, pray, what is the matter with Lenny Fair-field? 
I can't understand a word of what has passed. You don't mean to 
say that good Lenny Fairfield (who was absent from church, by-the- 
bye) can have done anything to get into disgrace?" 

" Yes, he has though," cried the Squire. " Stirn, I say Stirn." 
Rut Stirn had forced his way through the hedge and vanished. Th w 



VARIETIES IN EXCTiSH LIFE. 125 

left to his own powers of narrative at second-hand, Mr. Hazeldean 
now told all he had to communicate ; the assault upon Randal Leslie, 
and the prompt punishment inflicted by Stirn ; his own indignation 
at the affront to his young kinsman, and his good-natured, merciful 
desire to save the culprit from public humiliation. 

The Parson, mollified towards the rude and hasty invention of the 
beer drinking, took the Squire by the hand. "Ah, Mr. Hazeldean, 
forgive me," he said repentantly; "I ought to have known at once 
that it was only some ebullition of your heart that could stifle your 
sense of decorum. But this is a sad story about Lenny, brawling and 
fighting on the Sabbath-day. So unlike him, too — I don't know what 
to make of it." 

" Like or unlike," said the Squire, " it has been a gross insult to 
young Leslie ; and looks all the worse because 1 and Audley are not 
just the best friends in the world. I can't think what it is," con- 
tinued Mr. Hazeldean, musingly ; " but it seems that there must be 
always some association of fighting connected with that prim half- 
brother of mine. There was I, son of his own mother — who might 
have been shot through the lungs, only the ball lodged in the shoulder 
—and now his wife's kinsman — my kinsman, too — grandmother a 
Hazeldean — a hard-reading, sober lad, as I am gwen to understand, 
can't set his foot into the quietest parish in the three kingdoms, but 
what the mildest boy that ever was seen — makes a rush at him like a 
mad bull. It is fatality ! " cried the Squire, solemnly. 

" Ancient legend records similar instances of fatabty in certain 
houses," observed Biccabocca. " There was the House of Pelops — 
and Polynices and Eteocles — the sons of (Edipus ! " 

" Pshaw ! " said the parson ; " but what's to be done ? " 

"Done?" said the Squire; "why, reparation must be made to 
young Leske. And though I wished to spare Lenny, the young 
ruffian, a public disgrace — for your sake, Parson Dale, and Mrs. 
Fairfield's ; — yet a good caning hi private •" 

" Stop, sir!" said Biccabocca, mildly, "and hear me." The Italian 
then, with much feeling and considerable tact, pleaded the cause of 
his poor protege, and explained how Lenny's error arose only from 
mistaken zeal for the Squire's service, and in the execution of the 
orders received from Mr. Stirn. 

" That alters the matter," said the Squire, softened; " and all that 
is necessary now will be for him to make a proper apology to my 
kinsman." 

" Yes, that is just," rejoined the Parson; "but I still don't learn 
how he got out of the stocks." 

Biccabocca then resumed his tale ; and, after confessing his own 
principal share in Lenny's escape, drew a moving picture of the^ boy's 
shame and honest mortification. " Let us march against Philip ! " 
cried the Athenians when they heard Demosthenes 

" Let us go at once and comfort the child ! " cried the Parson, 
before Biccabocca could finish, 

With that benevolent intention all three quickened their pace, and 
soon arrived at the widow's cottage. But Lenny had caught sight of 
their approach through the window; jnd not doubting that, in spite 



126 511 NOVEL; UK, 

of Riccabocca's intercession, the Parson was come to upbraid, and 
the Squire to re-imprison, he darted out by the back way, got amongst 
the woods, and lay there perdu all the evening. Nay, it was not till 
after dark that his mother— who sat wringing her hands in the little 
kitchen, and trying m vain to listen to the Parson and Mrs. Dale, 
who (after sending in search of the fugitive) had kindly come to 
console the mother — heard a timid knock at the door and a nervous 
fumble at the latch. She started up, opened the door, and Lenny 
sprang to her bosom, and there buried his face, sobbing loud. 

" No harm, my boy," said the Parson, tenderly ; " you have nothing 
to fear — all is explained and forgiven." 

Lenny looked up, and the veins on his forehead were much swollen. 
" Sir," said he, sturdily, " I don't want to be forgiven — I aint done 
no wrong. And — I've been disgraced — and I won't go to school, 
never no more." 

" Hush, Carry !" said the Parson to his wife, who, with the usual 
liveliness of her little temper, was about to expostulate. " Good 
night, Mrs. Fairfield. I shall come and talk to you to-morrow, Lenny; 
by that time you will think better of it." 

The Parson then conducted his wife home, and went up to the 
Hall to report Lenny's safe return ; for the Squire was very uneasy 
about him, and had even in person shared the search. As soon as he 
heard Lenny was safe— " Well," said the Squire, "let him go the 
first tiling in the morning to Rood Hall, to ask Master Leslie's 
pardon, and all will be right and smooth again." 

" A young villain!" cried Prank, with Ins cheeks the colour of 
scarlet; "to strike a gentleman and an Etonian, who had just been 
to call on me ! But I wonder Randal let him off so well — any other 
boy in the sixth form would have killed him ! " 

" Prank," said the Parson, sternly, " if we all had our deserts, what 
should be done to him who not only lets the sun go down on his own 
■wrath, but strives with uncharitable breath to fan the dying embers 
of another's?" 

The clergyman here turned away from Prank, who bit his lip, and 
seemed a'bashed — while even his mother said not a word in his ex- 
culpation ; for when the Parson did reprove in that stern tone, the 
majesty of the Hall stood awed before the rebuke of the Church. 
Catching Riccabocoa's inquisitive eye, Mr. Dale drew aside the 
philosopher, and whispered to him his fears that it would be a very 
hard matter to induce Lenny to beg Randal Leslie's pardon, and that 
the proud stomach of the pattern-boy would not digest the stocks 
with as much ease as a long regimen of philosophy had enabled the 
sage to do. This conference Miss Jemima soon interrupted by a 
direct appeal to the Doctor respecting the number of years (even 
without any previous and more violent incident) that the world could 
possibly withstand its own wear and tear. 

" Ma'am," said the Doctor, reluctantly summoned away, to look at 
a passage in some prophetic periodical upon that interesting subject 
— " ma'am, it is very hard that you should make one remember the 
end of the world, since, in conversing with you, one's natural tempta- 
tion is to forget its existence." 



VAKIKTIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 127 

Miss Jemima's cheeks were suffused with a deeper scarlet tnan 
Frank's had been a few minutes before. Certainly that deceitful, 
neartless compliment justified all her contempt for the male sex ; and 
vet— such is human blindness — it went far to redeem all mankind in 
tier credulous and too confiding soul. 

"He is about to propose," sighed Miss Jemima. 

"Giacomo," said Biccabocca, as he drew on his nightcap, and 
stepped majestically into the four-posted bed, " I think we shall get 
that ooy for the garden now !" 

Thus each spurred bis hobby, or drove her car, round the Hazel- 
dean whirligig. 



"S-'D- 



CHAPTER X1H. 

Whateveb may be the ultimate success of Miss Jemima Hazel- 
dean's designs upon Dr. Riccabocca, the Machiavellian sagacity with 
which the Italian had counted upon securing the services of Lenny 
Fairfield was speedily and triumphantly established by the result. 
No voice of the Parson's, charmed he ever so wisely, could persuade 
the peasant-boy to go and ask pardon of _ the young gentleman, to 
whom, because he had done as he was bid, he owed an agonising 
defeat and a shameful incarceration. And, to Mrs. Dale's vexation, 
the widow took the boy's part. She was deeply offended at the 
unjust disgrace Lenny had undergone n\ being put in the stocks ; 
she shared his pride, and openly approved his spirit. Nor was it 
without great difficulty that Lenny could be induced to resume his 
lessons at school ; nay, even to set foot beyond the precincts of his 
mother's holding. The point of the school at last he yielded, though 
sullenly; and the Parson thought it better to temporise as to the 
more unpalatable demand. Unluckily, Lenny's apprehensions of the 
mockery that awaited him in the merciless world of his village were 
realised. Though Stirn at first kept his own counsel, the Tinker 
blabbed the whole affair. And after the search instituted for Lenny 
on the fatal night, all attempt to hush up what had passed would 
have been impossible. So then Stirn told his story, as the Tinker 
had told his own; both tales were very unfavourable to Leonard 
Fairfield. The pattern-boy had broken the Sabbath, fought with his 
betters, and been well mauled into the bargain ; the village lad had 
sided with Stirn and the authorities in spving out the misdemeanours 
of his equals : therefore Leonard Fairfield, in both capacities of 
degraded pattern-boy and baffled spy, could expect no mercy ; — he 
was ridiculed in the one, and hated in the other. 

It is true that, hi the presence of the schoolmaster, and under 
the eye of Mr. Dale, no one openly gave vent to malignant feelings ; 
but the moment those checks were removed, popular persecution 
Began. 

Some pointed and mowed at him ; some cursed him for a sneak, 
and all shunned his society ; voices were heard in the hedgerows, as 
he passed through the village at dusk, " Who was put in the stocks ? 
—baa ! " " Who got a bloody nob for playing spy to Nick Stirn ? — 



19.8 MI novel; OB, 

baa!" To resist this species of aggression would Lave been a vain 
attempt for a wiser head and a colder temper than our poor pattern- 
boy's. He took his resolution at once, and his mother approved it ; 
and the second or third day after Dr. Uiccabocca's return to the 
Casino, Lenny Fairfield presented himself on the terrace with a little 
bundle in his hand, "Please, sir," said he to the Doctor, who was 
sitting cross-legged on the balustrade, with his red silk umbrella over 
his head — "please, sir, if you'll be good en:ugh to take me now, 
and give me any hole to sleep in, I'll work for your honour night 
and day; and as for the wages, mother says, 'just suit j - ourself, 
sir.' " 

" My child," said the Doctor, taking Lenny by the hand, and look- 
ing at him with the sagacious eye of a wizard, " I knew you would 
come ! and Giacomo is already prepared for you ! As to wages, we'll 
talk of them by-and-by." 

Lenny being thus settled, his mother looked for some evenings on 
the vacant chair, where he had so long sate in the place of her beloved 
Mark ; and the chair seemed so comfortless and desolate, thus left all 
to itself, that she could bear it no longer. 

Indeed the village had grown as distasteful to her as to Lenny — 
perhaps more so ; and one morning she hailed the Steward as he was 
trotting his hog-maned cob beside the door, and bade him tell the 
Squire that " she would take it very kind if he would let her off the 
six months' notice for the land and premises she held — there were 
plenty to step into the place at a much better rent." 

" You're a fool," said the good-natured Steward ; " and I'm very 
glad you did not speak to that fellow Stirn instead of to me. You've 
been doing extremely well here, and have the place, I may say for 
nothing." 

" Nothin' as to rent, sir, but a great deal as to feelin'," said the 
widow ; " and now Lenny has gone to work with the foreign gentle- 
man, I should like to go and live near him." 

"Ah, yes — I heard Lenny had taken himself off to the Casino — 
more fool he ; but, bless your heart, 'tis no distance — two miles or so. 
Can't he come home every night after work ? " 

"No, sir," exclaimed the widow, almost fiercely; "he shan't 
come home here, to be called bad names and jeered at ! — he whom 
my dead good-man was so fond and proud of. No, sir ; we poor 
foiks have our feelings, as 1 said to Mrs. Dale, and as I will say to 
the Squire hisself. Not that I don't thank him for all favours — he 
be a good gentleman if let alone; but he says tie won't come 
near us till Lenny goes and axes pardin. Pardin for what, I 
should like to know ? Poor lamb ! I wish you could ha' seen his 
nose, sir — as big as your two fists. Ax pardin! if the Squire had 
had such a nose as that, I don't think it's pardin he'd been ha' axing. 
But I let the passion get the better of me — I humbly beg you'll 
excuse it, sir. I'm no scholard, as poor Mark was, andjjenny would 
have been, if the Lord had not visited us otherways. Therefore just 

fet the Squire to let me go as soon as may be ; and as for the bit o' 
ay and what's on the grounds and orchard, the new comer will nc 
doubt settle that." 



VAtuLllKj IN J-S61.1SI1 Lij-;... li»9 

The Sltvaxd, finding no eloquence of his could induce the widow 
to relinquish her resolution, took her message to the Squire. 
Mr. Hazeldean, who was indeed really offended at the boy's obstinate 
refusal to make the amende honorable to Randal Leslie, at first only 
bestowed a hearty curse or two on the nride and ingratitude both of 
mother and son. It may be supposed, however, that his sacond 
thoughts were more gentle, since that evening, though he did not go 
himself to the widow, he sent his " Harry." Now, though Harry 
was sometimes austere and brusque enough on her own account, and 
in such business as might especially be transacted between herself 
and the cottagers, yet she never appeared as the delegate of her lord 
except in the capacity of a herald of peace and mediating angel. It 
was with good heart, too, that she undertook this mission, since, as 
we have seen, Doth mother and son were great favourites _ of hers. 
She entered the cottage with the friendliest beam in her bright b'.ue 
eye, and it was with the softest tone of her frank, cordial voice that 
she accosted the widow. But she was no more successful than the 
Steward had been. The truth is, that I don't believe the haughtiest 
duke in the three kingdoms is really so proud as your plain English 
rural peasant, nor half so hard to propitiate and deal with when his 
sense of dignity is ruffled. Nor are there many of my own literary 
brethren (thin-skinned creatures though we are) so sensitively alive to 
the Public Opinion, wisely despised by Dr. Eiccabocca, as that same 
peasant. He can endure a good deal of contumely sometimes, it is 
true, from his superiors (though, thank Heaven ! that he rarely meets 
with unjustly) ; but to be looked down upon, and mocked, and pointed 
at by his own equals — his own little world — cuts him to the soul. 
And if you can succeed in breaking this pride, and destroying this 
sensitiveness, then he is a lost being. He can never recover his self- 
esteem, and you have chucked him half-way — a stolid, inert,- sullen 
victim— to the perdition of the prison or the convict-ship. 

Of this stuff was the nature both of the widow and her son. Had 
the honey of Plato flowed from the tongue of Mrs. Hazeldean, it 
could not have turned into sweetness the bitter spirit upon which it 
descended. But Mrs. Hazeldean, though an excellent woman, was 
rather a bluff, plain-spoken one— and, after all, she had some little 
feeling for the son of a gentleman, and a decayed, fallen gentleman, 
who, even by Lenny's account, had been assailed without any intelli- 
gible provocation ; nor could she, with her strong common sense, 
attach all the importance which Mrs. Pairfield did to the unmannerly 
impertinence of a few young cubs, which she said truly, " would soon 
die away if no notice was taken of it." The widow's mind was made 
up, and Mrs. Hazeldean departed — with much chagrin and some 
displeasure. 

Mrs. Pairfield, however, tacitly understood that the request she 
had made was granted, and early one morning her door was found 
locked — the key left at a neighbour's to be given to the Steward : 
and, on further inquiry it was ascertained that her furniture and 
effects had been removed by the errand-cart, in the dead of the night. 
Lenny had succeeded in finding a cottage on the road-side, not far 
from the Casino ; and tfcere, with a joyous face, he waited to welcome 

VOL. T K 



130 Mr NOVEL; OS, 

Ms mother to breakfast, and show how he had spent the night in 
arranging her furniture. 

"Parson !" cried the Squire when all this news came upon him, as 
he was walking arm-in-arm with Mr. Dale, to inspect some proposed 
improvement in the Alms-house, " this is all your fault. Why did not 
you go and talk to that brute of a boy, and that dolt of a woman ? 
You've got ' soft sawder enough,' as Frank calls it in his new-fashioned 
slang." 

" As if I had not talked myself hoarse to both !" said the Parson, 
in a tone of reproachful surprise at the accusation. " But it was in 
vain ! Squire, if you had taken my advice about the stocks — 
quieta non movere ! " 

"Bother !" said the Squire. " I suppose I am to be held up as a 
tyrant, a Nero, a Bichard the Third, or a Grand Inquisitor, merely 
for having things smart and tidy ! Stocks indeed ! — your friend 
Rickeybockey said he was never more comfortable in his life — quite 
enjoyed sitting there. And what did not hurt Rickeybockey's dig- 
nity (a very gentleman-like man he is, when he pleases) ought to be 
no such great matter to Master Leonard Fairfield. But 'tis no use 
talking ! What's to be done now ? The woman must not starve ; 
and I'm sure she can't live out of Bickeybockey's wages to Lenny — 
(by the way, I hope he don't board the boy upon his and Jackeymo's 
leavings : 1 hear they dine upon new^ts and sticklebacks — faugh !) — 
I'll tell you what, Parson, now I think of it— at the back of the cot- 
tage which she has taken there are some fields of capital land just 
vacant. Rickeybockey wants to have 'em, and sounded me as to the 
rent when he was at the Hall. 1 only half-promised him the refusal. 
And he must give up four or five acres of the best land round the 
cottage to the widow — just enough for her to manage — and she can 
keep a dairy. If she want capital, I'll lend her some in your name — 
only don't tell Stirn ; and as for the rent — we'll talk of that when we 
see how she gets on, thankless, obstinate jade that she is ! Yon 
see," added the Squire, as if he felt there was some apology due for 
this generosity to an object whom he professed to consider so 
ungrateful, " her husband was a faithful servant, and so — I wish you 
would not stand there staring me out of countenance, but go down to 
the woman at once, or Stirn will have let the land to Rickeybockey, 
as sure as a gun. And harkye, Dale, perhaps you can contrive, if the 
woman is so cursedly stiff-backed, not to say the land is mine, or that 
it is any favour I want to do her — or, in short, manage it as you can 
for the best." Still even this charitable message failed. The widow 
knew that the land was the Squire's, and worth a good £3 an acre. 
" She thanked him humbly for that and all favours ; but she could 
not afford to buy cows, and she did not wish to be beholden to any 
one for her living. And Lenny was well off at Mr. Rickeybockey' s, 
and coming on wonderfully in the garden way — and she did not doubt 
she could get some washing ; at all events, her haystack would bring 
in a good bit of money, and she should do nicely, thank their 
honours." 

Nothing farther could be done in the direct way, but the remark 
about the washing suggested some mode of indirectly benefiting the 



VARIETIES IX Z:;(iLIoII LUZ, I3i 

willow. And a little time afterwards, the sole laundress in that im- 
mediate neighbourhood happening to die, a hint from the Squire 
obtained from the landlady of the inn opposite the Casino such custom 
as she had to bestow, which at times was not inconsiderable. And 
what with Lenny's wages (whatever that mysterious item might be), 
the mother and son contrived to live without exhibiting any of those 
physical signs of fast and abstinence which Riccabocca and his vaiel 
gratuitously afforded to the student in animal anatomy. 



CHAPTER XTV. 

Of all the wares and commodities in exchange and barter, wherein 
so mainly consists the civilization of our modern world, there is not 
one which is so carefully weighed — so accurately measured — so 
plumed and gauged — so doled and scraped — so poured out in minima 
and balanced with scruples — as that necessary of social commerce 
called " an apology !" If the chemists were half so careful in vend- 
ing their poisons, there would be a notable diminution in the yearly 
average of victims to arsenic and oxalic acid. But, alas, in the 
matter of apology, it is not from the excess of the dose, but the timid, 
niggardly, miserly manner in which it is dispensed, that poor Humanity 
is hurried off to the Styx ! How many times does a life depend on 
the exact proportions ot an apology ! Is it a hair-breadth too short 
to cover the scratch for which you want it ? Make your will — you 
are a dead man ! A life, do I say ? — a hecatomb of lives ! How 
many wars would have been prevented, how many thrones would be 
standing, dynasties flourishing — commonwealths brawling round a 
bema, or lifting out galleys for corn and cotton — if an inch or two 
more of apology had been added to the proffered ell ! But then that 
plaguy, jealous, suspicious, old vinegar-faced Honour, and her partner 
Pride — as penny-wise and pound-foolish a she-skinflint as herseif — 
have the monopoly of the article. And what with the time they lose 
in adjusting their spectacles, hunting in the precise shelf for the pre- 
cise quality demanded, then (quality found) the haggling as to 
Uuantum — considering whether it should be Apothecary's weight or 
Avoirdupois, or English measure or Flemish — and, finally, the nulla 
buloo they make if the customer is not perfectly satisfied with the 
monstrous little he gets for his money, — I don't wonder, for my part, 
how one loses temper and patience, and sends Pride, Honour, and 
Apology, all to the devil. Aristophanes, in his " Comedy of Peace" 
insinuates a beautiful allegory by only suffering that goddess, though 
in fact she is his heroine, to appear as a mute. She takes care never 
^o open her lips. The shrewd Greek knew very well that she would 
cease to be Peace, if she once began to chatter. "Wherefore, 
reader, if ever you find your pump under the iron heel of anothet 
: nan's boot, heaven grant that you may hold your tongue, and not 
make things past all endurance and forgiveness hy bawling out for ar 
apology ! 



3S3 MY HOVEL; Oil, 



CHAPTER XV. 



Bur L.„ Squire and his son, Frank were large-hearted, generous 
creatures in the article of apology, as in all things less skimpingly 
dealt out. And seeing that Leonard Fairfield would offer no plaster 
to Randal Leslie, they made amends for his stinginess by their own 
prodigalitv. The Squire accompanied his son to Food Hall, and 
none of the family choosing to be at home, the Squire in his own 
hand, and from his own head, indited and composed an epistle which 
might have satisfied all the wounds which the dignity of the Leslies 
had ever received. 

This letter of apology ended with a hearty request that Randal 
would come and spend a few davs with his son. Frank's epistle was 
to the same purport, only more Etonian and less legible. 

It was some davs before Randal's replies to these epistles were 
received. The replies bore the address of a village near London, and 
stated that the writer was now reading with a tutor preparatory to 
entrance at Oxford, and could not, therefore, accept the invitation 
extended to him. 

For the rest, Randal expressed himself with good sense, though 
not with mueli generosity. lie excused his participation in the 
vulgarity of such a conflict by a bitter but short allusion to the 
obstinacy and ignorance of the village boor : and did not do what 
you, my kind reader, certainly would have done under similar circum- 
stances — viz., intercede in behalf of a brave and unfortunate antago- 
nist. Most of us like a foe better after we have fought him — that is, 
if we are the conquering party ; this was not the case with Randal 
Leslie. There, so far as the Etonian was concerned, the matter 
rested. And the Squire, irritated that he could not repair whatever 
wrong that young gentleman had sustained, no longer felt a pang of 
regret as he passed by Mrs. Fairfield's deserted cottage. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Lex xy Fairfield continued to give great satisfaction to his new 
employers, and to profit in many respects by the familiar kindness 
with which he was treated. Riccabocca, who valued himself on 
penetrating into character, had, from the first, seen that much stuff 
of no common quality and texture was to be found in the disposition 
and mind of the English village boy. On farther acquaintance, he 
perceived that, under a child's innocent simplicity, there were the 
workings of an acutencss that required but development and direc- 
tion. He ascertained that the pattern boy's progress at the village 
school proceeded from something more than mechanical docility and 
readiness of comprehension. Lenny had a keen thirst for knowledge, 
and through all the disadvantages of birth and circumstance, there 
were the indications of that natural genius which converts disadvan 



VAiUJiTlKS IN ENGLIM1 I. IKK. 133 

tages themselves into stimulants. Still, with tiie germs of good 
qualities lay the embryos of those which, difficult to separate, and 
hard to destroy, often mar the produce of the soil. With a remark- 
able and generous pride in self-repute, there was some stubbornness ; 
with great sensibility to kindness, there was also strong reluctance to 
forgive affront. 

This mixed nature in an uncultivated peasant's breast interested 
Riccabocca, who, though long secluded from the commerce of man- 
kind, still looked upon man as the most various and entertaining volume 
which philosophical research can explore. He soon accustomed the 
boy to the tone of a conversation generally subtle and suggestive; 
and Lenny's language and ideas became insensibly less rustic and 
more refined. Then Riccabocca selected from his library, small as it 
was, books that, though elementary, were of a higher cast than Lenny 
could have found within his reach at Hazeldean. Riccabocca knew 
the English language well — better in grammar, construction, and 
genius than many a not ill-educated Englishman ; for he had studied 
it with the minuteness with which a scholar studies a dead language, 
and amidst his collection he had many of the books which had 
formerly served him for that purpose. These were the first works he 
lent to Lenny. Meanwhile Jackeymo imparted to the boy many 
secrets in practical gardening and minute husbandry, for at that day 
farming in England (some favoured counties and estates excepted) 
was far below the nicety to which the art has been immemorially 
carried in the north of Italy — where, indeed, you may travel for miles 
and miles as through a series of market-gardens — so that, all these 
things considered, Leonard Fairfield might be said to have made a, 
change for the better. Yet, in truth, and looking below the surface, 
that might be fair matter of doubt. Eor the same reason which had 
induced the boy to fly his native village, he no longer repaired to the 
church of Hazeldean. The old, intimate intercourse between him and 
the Parson became necessarily suspended, or bounded to an occa- 
sional kindly visit from the latter — visits which grew more rare, and 
less familiar, as he found his former pupil in no want of his services, 
and wholly deaf to his mild entreaties to forget and forgive the past, 
and come at least to his old seat in the parish church. Lenny still 
went to church — a church a long way off m another parish — but the 
sermon," did not do him the same good as Parson Dale's had done ; 
and the clergyman, who had his own flock to attend to, did not con- 
descend, as Parson Dale would have done, to explain what seemed 
obscure, and enforce what was profitable, in private talk, with that 
strajy lamb from another's fold. 

INow I question much if all Dr. Riccabocca's maxims, though they 
were often very moral, and generally very wise, served to expand the 
peasant boy's native good qualities, and correct his bad, half so well 
as the few simple words, not at all indebted to Machiavelli, whicli 
Leonard had once reverently listened to when he stood by Mark's 
elbow chair, yielded up for the moment to the good Parson, worthy 
lo sit in it ; for Mr. Dale had a heart in which ail the fatherless of 
the parish found their place. Nor was this loss of tender, intimate, 
spiritual lore so counterbalanced by the greater facilities for purely 



i'H MY NOVi.L; Oil, 

intellectual instruction, as modern enlightenment might presume, 
For, without disputing the advantage of knowledge in a general way, 
knowledge, in itself, is not friendly to content. Its tendency, of 
course, is to increase the desires, to dissatisfy us with what is, 
in order to urge progress to what may be ; and, in that progress, 
what unnoticed martyrs among the many must fall, baffled and 
crushed by the way ! To how large a number will be given desires 
they will never realise, dissatisfaction of the lot from which they will 
never rise! Allons! one is viewing the dark side of the question. 
It is all the fault of that confounded Riccabocc?,, who has already 
caused Lenny Fairfield to lean gloomily on his spade, and, after 
looking round and seeing no one neur him, groan out querulously — 

" And am I born to dig a potato ground i " 

Pardieu, my friend Lenny, if you live to be seventy, and ride in 
your carriage, and by the help of a dinner-pill digest a spoonful of 
curry, you may sigh to think what a relish there was in potatoes, 
roasted in ashes after you had digged them out of that ground with 
your own stout young hands. Dig on, Lenny Fairfield, dig on ! 
Dr. Riccabocca will tell you that there was once an illustrious 
personage * who made experience of two very different occupations 
— one was ruling men, the other was planting cabbages ; he thought 
planting cabbages much the pleasanter of the two ! 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Dr. Riccabocca had secured Lenny Fairfield, and might therefore 
be considered to have ridden his hobby in the great whirligig with 
adroitness and success. But Miss Jemima was still driving round 
in her car, handling the reins, and flourishing the whip, without 
apparently having got an inch nearer to the flying form of r Bicea- 
boeca. 

Indeed, that excellent and only too susceptible spinster, with all 
her experience of the villany of man, had never conceived the wretch 
to be so thoroughly beyond the reach of redemption as when 
Dr. Riccabocca took his leave, and once more interred nimseif 
amidst, the solitudes of the Casino, without having made any formal 
renunciation of his criminal celibacy. For some days she shut herself 
up in her own chamber, and brooded with more than her usua. 
gloomy satisfaction on the certainty of the approaching crash. 
Indeed, many signs of that univerfal calamity, which, while the 
visit of Riccabocca lasted, she had permitted herself to consider 
ambiguous, now became luminously apparent. Even the newspaper, 
which during that credulous and happy period had given half a 
column to Births and Marriages, now bore an ominously long cata- 
logue of Deaths ; so that it, seemed as if the whole population had 
lost heart, and had no chance of repairing its daily losses. The 
leading articles spoke, with the obscurity ot a Pythian, of an impend- 

* The Kmperor Diocletian 



VAKIETIES IN ENGLISH 1.152. J 35 

ing crisis. Monstrous turnips sprouted out from the paragraphs 
devoted to General News. Cows Bore calves with two heads whales 
were stranded in the Humber, showers of frogs descended in the 
High-street of Cheltenham. 

All these symptoms of the world's decrepitude and consummation, 
which by the side of the fascinating Riccabocca might admit of some 
doubt as to their origin and cause, now conjoined with the worst of 
all, viz., the frightfully progressive wickedness of man — left to Miss 
Jemima no ray of hope save that afforded by the reflection that she 
could contemplate the wreck of matter without a single sentiment of 
regret. 

Mrs. Dale, however, by no means shared the despondency of her 
fair friend, and, having gained access to Miss Jemima's chamber, 
succeeded, though not without difficulty, in her kindly attempts to 
cheer the drooping spirits of that female misanthropist. Nor, in her 
benevolent desire to speed the car of Miss Jemima to its hymeneal 
goal, was Mrs. Dale so cruel towards her male friend, Dr. Riccabocca, 
as she seemed to her husband. For Mrs. Dale was a woman of 
shrewdness and penetration, as most quick-tempered women are ; and 
she knew that Miss Jemima was one of those excellent young ladies 
who are likely to value a husband in proportion to the difficulty of 
obtaining him. In fact, my readers of both sexes must often have 
met, in the course of their experience, with that peculiar sort of 
feminine disposition, which requires the warmth of the conjugal 
hearth to develop all its native good qualities ; nor is it to be blamed 
overmuch if, innocently aware of this tendency in its nature, it turns 
towards what is best fitted for its growth and improvement, by laws 
akin to those which make the sun-flower turn to the sun, or the wil- 
low to the stream. Ladies of this disposition, permanently thwarted 
in their affectionate bias, gradually languish away into intellectual 
inanition, or sprout out into those abnormal eccentricities which are 
classed under the general name of " oddity " or " character." But, 
once admitted to their proper soil, it is astonishing what healthful 
improvement takes place— how the poor heart, before starved and 
stinted of nourishment, throws out its suckers, and bursts into bloom 
and fruit And thus many a belle from whom the beaux have stood 
aloof, only because the puppies think she could be had for the asking, 
they see afterwards settled down into true wife and fond mother, with 
amaze at their former disparagement, and a sigh at their blind hard- 
ness of heart. 

In. all probability, Mrs. Dale took this view of the subject; and 
certainly, in addition to all the hitherto dormant virtues which would 
be awakened in Miss Jemima when fairly Mrs. Riccabocca, she 
counted somewhat upon the mere worldly advantage winch such a 
match would bestow upon the exile. So respectable a connection 
with one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most popular families in the 
shire, would in itself give him a position not to be despised by a poor 
stranger m the land ; and though the interest in Miss Jemima's dowry 
might not be much, regarded in the light of English pounds (not 
Milanese lire), still it would suffice to prevent that gradual process of 
uematerialisation which the lengthened diet upon minnows and stickle- 



236 MY NOVEL; OK, 

backs had already made apparent in the fine and sl&w-evarisliing form 
of I he philosopher. 

Like all persons convinced of the expediency of a thing, Mrs. Daie 
saw nothing wanting but opportunities to insure its success. And 
that these might be forthcoming, she not only renewed with greater 
frequency, and more urgent instance than ever, her friendly invitations 
to Biccabocca to drink tea and spend the evening, but she so artfidly 
chafed the Squire on his sore point of hospitality, that the Doctor 
received weekly a pressing solicitation to dine and sleep at the Hall. 

At first the Italian pished and grunted, and said Gospetto, and Fer 
Bacco, and Biavolo, and tried to creep out of so much proffered 
courtesy. But, like all single gentlemen, he was a little under the 
tyrannical influence of his faithful servant ; and Jackeymo, though he 
could bear starving as well as his master, when necessary, still, when 
he had the option, preferred roast-beef and plum-pudding. Moreover, 
that vain and incautious confidence of Biccabocca, touching the vast 
sum at his command, and with no heavier drawback than that of so 
amiable a lady as Miss Jemima— who had already shown him 
(Jackeymo) many little delicate attentions — had greatly whetted the 
cupidity which was in the servant's Italian nature ; a cupidity the 
more keen because, long debarred its legitimate exercise on his own 
mercenary interests, he carried it all to the account of his master's ! 

Thus tempted by Iris enemy, and betrayed by his servant, the unfor- 
tunate Biccabocca fell, though with eyes not blinded, into the 
hospitable snares extended for the destruction of his — celibacy ! He 
went often to the Parsonage, often to the Hall, and by degrees the 
sweets of the social domestic life, long denied him, began to exercise 
their enervating charm upon the stoicism of our poor exile. Frank 
had now returned to Eton. An unexpected invitation had carried off 
Captain Higginbotham to pass a few weeks at Bath with a distant 
relation, who had lately returned from India, and who, as rich as 
Croesus, felt so estranged and solitary in his native isle, that, when 
the Captain " claimed kindred there," to his own amaze, " he had his 
claims allowed ;" while a very protracted sitting of Parliament still 
delayed in Loudon the Squire's habitual visitors during the later 
summer ; so that — a chasm thus made in his society — Mr. Hazeldean 
welcomed with no hollow cordiality the diversion or distraction he 
found in the foreigner's companionship. Thus, with pleasure to all 
parties, and strong hopes to the two female conspirators, the intimacy 
between the Casino and Hall rapidly thickened ; but still not a word 
resembling a distinct proposal did Dr. Biccabocca breathe. And 
still, if such an idea obtruded itself on his mind, it was chased there- 
from with so determined a Biavolo, that perhaps, if not the end of 
the world, at least the end of Miss Jemima's tenure in it, might 
have approached, and seen her still Miss Jemima, but for a certain 
letter with a foreign post-mark that reached the Doctor one Tuesday 
mornins. 



ViUUETIES IN E>c?LiBrt U»i. 137 



CHAPTER XVHI. 



Tn£ servant saw that something had gone wrong, and, under pre- 
fence of syringing the orange-trees, he lingered near his master, and 
peered through the sunny leaves upon Biccabocca's melancholy 
brows. 

The Doctor sighed heavily. Is or did he, as was his wont, after 
some such sigh, mechanically take up that dear comforter the pipe. 
But though the tobacco-pouch lay by his side on the balustrade, and 
the pipe stood against the wall between his knees, childlike lifting up 
its lips to the customary caress — he heeded neither the one nor the 
other, but laid the letter silently on his lap, and fixed his eyes upon 
the ground. 

" It must be bad news, indeed ! " thought Jackeymo, and desisted 
from his work. Approaching his master, he took up the pipe and the 
tobacco-pouch, and filled the bowl slowly, glancing all the while 
towards that dark musing lace, on which, when abandoned by the 
expression of intellectual vivacity or the exquisite smile of Italian 
courtesy, the deep downward hues revealed the characters of sorrow. 
Jackeymo did not venture to speak ; but the continued silence of his 
master disturbed him much. He laid that peculiar tinder which your 
smokers use upon the steel, and struck the spark — still not a word, 
nor did Biccabocca stretch forth his hand. 

" I never knew him in this taking before," thought Jackeymo ; and 
delicately he insinuated the neck of the pipe into the nerveless fingers 
of the hand that lay supine on those quiet knees. The pipe fell to the 
ground. 

Jackeymo crossed himself, and began praying to his sainted name- 
sake with great fervour. 

The Doctor rose slowly, and as if with effort ; he walked once or 
twice to and fro the terrace ; and then he halted abruptly, and 
said— 

"Friend!" 

" Blessed Uonsignore San Giacomo, I knew thou wouldst hear 
me ! " cried the servant ; and he raised his master's hand to his lips, 
then abruptly turned away and wiped his eyes. 

"Friend," repeated Riccabocca, and this time with a tremulous 
emphasis, and in the softest tone of a voice never wholly without the 
music of the sweet South, " I would talk to thee of my child." 



CHAPTER XIX. 

* The letter, then, relates to the Signonna. She is well V 

"Yes, she is well now. She is in our native Italy." 

JacKeymo raised his eyes involuntarily towards the orange-trees, 

and the morning breeze swept by and bore to liim the odour of their 

blossoms. 



loi 51Y XO\JSL, att, 

'"' Those are sweet even here, with care," said he, pointing to the 
trees. " I think I have said that before to the Padrone." 

But Riccabocca was now looking again at the letter, and did 
not notice either the gesture or the remark of lu's servant. 

" My aunt is no more ! " said he, after a pause. 

" We will pray for her soul ! " answered Jackeymo solemnly. "But 
she was very old, and had been a long time ailing. Let it not grieve 
the Padrone too keenly : at that age, and with those infirmities, death 
comes as a friend." 

"' Peace be to her dust ! " returned the Italian. " If she had her 
faults, be they now forgotten for ever ; and in the hour of my danger 
and distress she sheltered my infant ! That shelter is destroyed. This 
letter is from the priest, her confessor. And the home of which my 
child is bereaved falls to the inheritance of my enemy." 

" Traitor ! " muttered Jackeymo ; and his right hand seemed to 
feel for the weapon which the Italians of the lower rank often openly 
wear in their girdles. 

" The priest," resumed Riccabocca, calmly, "has rightly judged in 
removing my child as a guest from the house in which that traitor 
enters as lord." 

" And where is the Signorina ? " 

" With the poor priest. See, Giacomo— here, here — tins is her 
handwriting at the end of the letter — the first lines she ever yet 
traced to me." 

Jackeymo took off his hat, and looked reverently on the large 
characters of a child's writing. But large as they were, they seemed 
indistinct, for the paper was blistered with the child's tears ; and on 
the place where they had not fallen, there was a round, fresh, moist 
stain of the tear that had dropped from the lids of the father. Ricca- 
bocca renewed, — " The priest recommends a convent." 

" To the devil with the priest ! " cried the servant ; then crossing 
himself rapidly, he added, " I did not mean that, Moi^signore San 
Giacomo — forgive me ! But your Excellency* does not think of 
making a nun of his only child ! " 

_ " And yet why not ? " said Riccabocca mournfully ; " what can I 
give her in the world ? Is the land of the stranger a bettor refuge 
than the home of peace in her native clime ? " 

" In the land of the stranger beats her father's heart ! " 

"And if that beat were stilled, what then ? Ill fares the life that a 
single death can bereave of ail. In a convent at least (and the 
priest's influence can obtain her that asylum amongst her equals and 
amidst her sex) she is safe from trial and from penury — to her grave." 

"Penury! Just see how rich we shall be when we take those 
fields at Michaelmas." 

" Pazzie ! " (follies) said Riccabocca listlessly. " Are these suns 
more serene than ours, or the soil more fertile ? Yet in our own 
Italy, saith the proverb, ' he who sows land reaps more care than 
corn.' It were different," continued the father, after a pause, and in 
a more resolute tone, " if I had some independence, however small, to 

* The title of Excellency does not, in Italian, necessarily express any exalted 
tank ; but is often given bv servants to their masters. 



VAK1ETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 139 

count on— pay, if among all my tribe of dainty relatives there were 
but one fe^ife who would accompany Violante "to the exile's hearth 
— Ishmael had Ms Higar. But how can we two rough-bearded men 
provide for all the nameless wants and cares of a frail female cliild ? 
And she has been so delicately reared — the woman child needs the 
fostering hand and tender eye of a woman." 

"And with a word," said Jackeymo resolutely, "the Padrone 
might secure to his child all that he needs to save her from the sepul- 
chre of a convent ; and ere the autumn leaves fall, she might be sitting 
on his knee. Padrone, do not think that you can conceal from me the 
truth, that you love your child better than all things in the world — 
now the Patria is as dead to you as the dust of your fathers — and 
your heart-strings would crack with the effort to tear her from them, 
and consign her to a convent. Padrone, never again to hear her 
voice — never again to see her face ! Those little arms that twined 
round your neck that dark night, when we fled fast for life and free- 
dom, and you said, as you felt their clasp, ' Friend, all is not yet 
lost.' " 

" Giacomo ! " exclaimed the father reproachfully, and his voice 
seemed to choke him. lliccabocca turned away, and walked rest- 
lessly to and fro the terrace ; then, lifting his arms with a wild ges- 
ture, as he still continued his long irregular strides, he muttered, 
"Yes, heaven is my witness that I could have borne reverse and 
banishment without a murmur, had I permitted myself that young 
partner in exile and privation. Heaven is my witness that, il I hesi- 
tate now, it is because I would not listen to my own selfish heart. 
Yet never, never to see her again — my child ! And it was but as the 
infant that I beheld her ! friend, friend — " (and, stopping short 
with a burst of uncontrollable emotion, he bowed his head upon his 
servant's shoulder) — " thou knowest what I have endured and suffered 
at my hearth, as in my country ; the wrong, the perfidy, the — the 
— " His voice again failed him; he clung to his servant's breast, 
and his whole frame shook. 

"But your child, the innocent one — think now only of her?" 
faltered Giacomo, struggling with his own sobs. 

"True, only of her," replied the exile, raising his face — "onlv ot 
her. Put aside thy thoughts for thyself, friend— counsel me. If I 
were to send for Violante, and if, transplanted to these keen airs, she 
drooped and died — look, look — the priest says that she needs such 
tender care ; or if I myself were summoned from the world, to leave 
her in it alone, friendless, homeless, breadless perhaps, at the age of 
woman's sharpest trial against temptation, would she not live to 
mourn the cruel egotism that closed on her infant innocence the gates 
of the House of God?" 

Jackeymo was appalled by this appeal ; and indeed Riccabocca had 
never before thus reverently spoken of the cloister. In his hours of 
philosophy, he was wont to sneer at monks and nuns, priesthood and 
superstition. But now, in that hour of emotion, the Old Religion re- 
claimed her empire ; and the sceptical world-wise man, thinking only 
of his child, spolte and felt with a child's simple faith. 



CHATTER XX. 

" But again 1 say," murmured Jackeymo scarce audibly, and after 
a long silence, " if the Padrone would make up his mind — to marry ! " 

He expected that his master would start up in his customary indig- 
nation at such a suggestion — nay, he might not have been sorry so to 
have changed the current of feelmg ; but the poor Italian only winceU 
slightly, and mildly withdrawing himself from his servant's support 
ing arm, again paced the terrace, but this time quietly and in silence, 
A quarter ol an hour thus passed. " Give me the pipe," said Dr. 
Riccabocca, passing into the Belvidere. 

Jackeymo again struck the spark, and ; wonderfully relieved at the 
Padrone's return to the habitual adviser, mentally besought his 
sainted namesake to bestow a double portion of soothing wisdom on 
the benignant influences of the weed. 



CHAPTER XXL 

Dr. Riccabocca had been some little time in the solitude of the 
Belvidere, when Lenny Fairfield, not knowing that his employer was 
therein, entered to lay down a book which the Doctor had lent him, 
with injunctions to leave on a certain table when done with. Ricea- 
bocca looked up at the sound of the young peasant's step. 

" I beg your honour's pardon — 1 did not know " 

"Never mind: lav the book there. I wish to speak with jou. 
You look well, my child : this air agrees with you as well as that of 
Hazeldean ? " 

" Oh, yes, sir ! " 

"Yet it is higher ground — more exposed?" 

''That can hardly be, sir," said Lenny; "there are many plants 
grow here which don't nourish at the Squire's. The hill yonder keeps 
off the cast wind, and the place lays to the south." 

"Lies, not lays, Lenny. What are the principal complaint? ir 
(hese parts ? " 

"Eh, sir?" 

' : I mean what maladies, what diseases ? " 

'■'I never heard tell of any, sir, except the rheumatism." 

" No low fevers ? — no consumption ? " 

" Never heard of them, sir." 

" Riccabocca drew a long breath, as if relieved. 

" That seems a very kind family at the Hall." 

" I have nothing to say against it," answered Lenny, bluntly. " I 
have not been treated justly. But as that book says, sir, ' It is not, 
every one who comes into the world with a silver spoon in his 
mouth.'" 

Little thought the Doctor that those wise maxims may leave sere 



VAlCiLII.ES IN ENGLISH LIT*. 141 

thoughts beuiud them. He was too occupied with the subject most 
at his own iie;:.rt to think then of what was in Lenny Fairfieid's. 

" Yes ; a kind, English domestic family. Did you see much ot Miss 
Ilazeldean?" 

" Not so much, as of the Lady." 

" is she liked in the village, think you?" 

"' Miss Jemima ? Yes. She never did harm. Her little dog bit me 
once— she did not ask me to beg its pardon, she asked mine ! She's 
a very nice young lady ; the girls say she is very affable ; and," added 
Lenny with a smile, " there are always more weddings going on when 
she is down at the Hall." 

" Oh ! " said Riccabocca. Then, after a long whif, " Did you ever 
see her play with the little children ? Is she fond of children, do you 
think?" 

" Lord, sir, you guess everything ! She's never so pleased as wheu 
she's playing with the babies." 

" Humph ! " grunted Riccabocca. " Babies — well, that's woman- 
like. I don't mean exactly babies, but when they're older — little 
girls ?" 

" Indeed, sir, I dare say ; but," said Lenny primly, " I never as 
yet kept company with the little girls." 

" Quite right, Lenny ; be equally discreet all your life. Mrs. Dale 
is very intimate with Miss Hazeldean — more than with the Squire's 
lady. Why is that, think you ?" 

" Well, sir," said Leonard shrewdly, " Mrs. Dale has her little 
tempers, though she's a very good lady; and Madam Ilazeldean is 
rather high, and has a spirit. But Miss Jemima is so soft : any one 
could live with Miss Jemima, as Joe, and the servants say at the 
Hall!" 

" Indeed ! Get my hat out of the parlour, and — just bring a 
clothes-brush, Lenny. A fine sunny day for a walk." 

After this most mean and dishonourable inquisition into the cha- 
racter and popular repute of Miss Hazeldean, Signior Riccabocca 
seemed as much cheered up and elated as if he had committed some 
very noble action ; and he walked forth in the direction of the Hall 
with a far lighter and livelier step than that with which he had paced 
the terrace. 

" Moasignore San Giaro„io, by thy help and the pipe's, the padrone 
shall have his child ! " muttered the servant, looking up from the 
garden. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

_ Yet Dr. Riccabocca was not rash. The man who wants Ins wed 
ding-garment to fit liim must allow plenty of time for the measure. 
But, from that day, the Italian notably changed his manner towards 
Miss Hazeldean. He ceased that profusion of compliment in which 
he had hitherto carried off in safety all serious meaning. For indeed 
the Doctor considered that compliments to a single gentleman were 
what the inky liquid it dispenses is to the cuttle-fish, that by obscuring 



Mi" NOVEL; OK, 

the water sails away from its enemy. Neither did he, as before, avoia 
prolonged conversations with the young lady, and contrive to escape 
from all solitary rambles by her side. On the contrary, he now sought 
every occasion to be in her society ; and, entirely dropping the lan- 
guage of gallantry, he assumed something of the earnest tone of 
friendship. He bent down his intellect to examine and plumb her 
own. To use a very homely simile, he blew away that froth which 
there is on the surface of mere acquaintanceships, especially with the 
opposite sex ; and which, while it lasts, scarce allows you to dis- 
tinguish between small beer and double X. Apparently Dr. Bicca- 
bocca was satisfied with his scrutiny — at all events, under that froth 
there was no taste of bitter. The Italian might not find any great 
strength of intellect in Miss Jemima, but he found that, disentangled 
from many little whims and foibles — which he had himself the sense 
to perceive were harmless enough if they lasted, and not so absolutely 
constitutional but what they might be removed by a tender band — 
Miss Hazeldean had quite enough sense to comprehend the plain 
duties of married life ; and if the sense could fail, it found a substi- 
tute in good old homely English principles, and the instincts of 
amiable, kindly feelings. 

I know not how it is, but your very clever man never seems to care 
so much as your less gifted mortals for cleverness in bis helpmate. 
Your scholars, and poets, and ministers of state, are more often than 
not found assorted with exceedingly humdrum, good sort of women, 
and apparently like them all the better for their deficiencies. Just 
see how happily Racine lived with his wife, and what an angel he 
thought her, and yet she had never read his plays. Certainly Goethe 
never troubled the lady who called him " Mr. Privy Councillor" with 
whims about " monads," and speculations on colour, nor those stiff 
metaphysical problems on which one breaks one's shins in the Second 
Part of the Faust. Probably it may be that such great geniuses — 
knowing that, as compared with themselves, there is little difference 
between your clever woman and your humdrum woman — merge at 
once all minor distinctions, relinquish all attempts at sympathy in 
hard intellectual pursuits, and are quite satisfied to establish that tie 
which, after all, best resists wear and tear— viz., the tough household 
bond between one human heart and another. 

At all events, this, I suspect, was the reasoning of Dr. Riccabocca, 
when one morning, after a long walk with Miss Hazeldean, he mut- 
tered to himself — 

" Duro con duro 
Non fece mai buon muro." 

Which may bear the paraphrase, "Bricks without mortar would 
make a very bad wall." There was quite enough in Miss Jemima's 
disposition to make excellent mortar : the Doctor took the bricks to 
himself. 

When his examination was concluded, our philosopher symbolically 
evinced the result he had arrived at by a very simple proceeding oil 
his part, which would have puzzled you greatly if you had not paused., 
and meaita>>i thereon, till you saw all that it, implied. Dr. F.iccch 



VARIETIES IK ENGLISH LIFE. lt$ 

bocca took off his spectacles ! He wiped them carefully, put them into 
their shagreen case, and locked them in his bureau: — that is to say, 
he left off wearing his spectacles. 

You will observe that there was a wonderful depth of meaning ia 
that critical symptom, whether it be regarded as a sign outward, 
positive, and explicit ; or a sign metaphysical, mystical, and esoteric. 
For, as to the last, it denoted that the task of the spectacles was over ; 
that, when a philosopher has made up his mind to marry, it is better 
henceforth to be shortsighted — nay, even somewhat purblind — than 
to be always scrutinising the domestic felicity, to which he is about 
to resign himself, through a pair of cold, uniliusory barnacles. And 
for the things beyond the hearth, if he cannot see without spectacles, 
is he not about to ally to his own defective vision a good, sharp pair 
of eyes, never at fault where his interests are concerned ? On the 
other hand, regarded positively, categorically, and explicitly, Dr. Bicca- 
boccsi, by laying aside those spectacles, signified that he was about to 
commence that happy initiation of courtship when every man, be he 
ever so much a philosopher, wishes to look as young and as handsome 
as time and nature will allow. Vain task to speed the soft language 
of the eyes through the medium of those glassy; interpreters ! I 
remember, for my own part, that once, on a visit to the town of 
Adelaide, I — Pisistratus Caxton — was in great danger of falling ia 
iove — with a young lady, too, who would have brought me a very 
good fortune, when she suddenly produced from her reticule a very 
neat pair of No. 4, set in tortoise-shell, and fixing upon me their 
Gorgon gaze, froze the astonished Cupid into stone ! And 1 hold it 
a great proof of the wisdom of Riccaboeca, and of his vast experience 
in mankind, that he was not above the consideration of what your 
pseudo sages would have regarded as foppish and ridiculous trifles. 
It argued all the better for that happiness which is our being's end 
and aim, that in condescending to play the lover, he put those unbe- 
coming petrifiers under lock and key. 

_ And certainly, now the spectacles were abandoned, it was impos- 
sible to deny that the Italian had remarkably handsome eyes. Even 
through the spectacles, or lifted a little above them, they were always 
bright and expressive ; but without those adj uncts, the blaze was 
softer and more tempered: they had that look which the French call 
veloute, or velvety ; and he appeared altogether ten years younger. 
If our Ulvsses, thus rejuvinated Dy his Minerva, has not fully made 
up his mind to make a Penelope of Miss Jemima, all I can say is, 
that he is worse than Polyphemus, who was only an Anthropo 
phagos ;— 

He preys upon the weaker sex, and is a Gynophagite ! 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

" And you commission mo, then, to speak to our de;ir Jemir..a?" 
s;.:d Mrs. Dale, joyfully, and without any bitterness whatever hi t;iat 
" ('.ear." 

Dr. Riccabocca. — Nay, before speaking to Miss Hazeidean, it 
it would surely be proper to know how far my addresses would be 
acceptable to the family. 

Mrs. Dale— Ah ! 

Dr. Riccabocca. — The Squire is, of course, the head of the family. 

".Mrs. Dale (absent and distraite). — The Squire — yes, very true — 
finite proper (then looking up, and with naicete), can you believe 
me, I never thought of the Squire ? And he is such an odd man, and 
has so many English prejudices, that really — dear me, how vexatious 
i hat it should never once have occurred to me that Mr. Hazeidean 
had a voice in the matter! Indeed, the relationship is so distant, 
— it is not like being her father ; and Jemima is of age, and can do 
as she pleases; and — but, as you say, it is quite proper that he shonVl 
lie consulted, as the head of the family. 

Dr. Riccabocca. — And you think that the Squire of Hazeidean 
might reject my alliance? — Pshaw! that's a grand word, indeed ; — I 
mean, that he might object very reasonably to his cousin's marriage 
with a foreigner, of whom he can know nothing, except that which in 
all countries is disreputable, and is said hi this to be criminal — 
poverty ? 

Mrs. Dale (kindly). — You misjudge us poor English people, and 
you wrong the Squire, Heaven bless bim ! for we were poor enough 
when he singled out my husband from a hundred for the minister of 
his parish, tor his neighbour and his friend. I will speak to him 
fearlessly 

Dr. Riccabocca. — And frankly. And now I have used that word, 
let me go on with the confession which your kindly readiness, my fair 
friend, somewhat interrupted. I said that if I might presume to 
think my addresses would be acceptable to Miss Hazeidean and her 
family, 1 was too sensible of her amiable qualities not to — not to 

Mrs. Dale (with demure archness). — Not to be the hapDiest of 
men : Mat's the customary English phrase, Doctor. 

Riccabocca (gallantly). — There cannot be a better. But, co;:- 
liaucd he, seriously, I wish it first to be understood that I have- 
been married before. 

Mrs. Dale (astonished). — Married before! 

Riccabocca. — And that I have an only child, dear to me — incv 
pressibly dear. That child, a daughter, has hitherto lived abroad , 
circumstances now render it desirable that she should make her home 
with me. And I own fairly that nothing has so attached me lo 
Miss Hazeidean, nor so induced my desire for our matrimonial con- 
nection, as my belief that she has the heart and the temper U become 
a kind mother to my little one. 



VARIETIES IM ENGLISH Lli'E, .145 

Mrs. Dale (with feeling and warmth). — You judge her rightly 
there. 

Riccabocca. — Now in pecuniary matters, as you may conjecture 
from my mode of life, I have nothing to offer to Miss Hazeldean cor- 
responding with her own fortune, whatever that may be ! 

Mrs. Dale. — That difficulty is obviated by settling Miss Hazel- 
dean's fortune on herself, which is customary in such cases. 

Dr. Riccabocca' s face lengthened. " And my child, then ? " said 
he, feelingly. There was something in that appeal so alien from all 
sordid and merely personal mercenary motives, that Mrs. Dale could 
not have had the heart to make the very rational suggestion, — 
"But that child is not Jemima's, and you may have children by 
her." 

She was touched, and replied, hesitatingly, — " But, from what you 
and Jemima may jointly possess, you can save something annually, — 
you can insure your life for your child. We did so when our poor 
child whom we lost was born (the tears rashed into Mrs. Dale's 
eyes) ; and I fear that Charles still insures his life for my sake, though 
Heaven knows that — that " 

The tears burst out. That little heart, quick and petulant though 
it was, had not a fibre of the elastic muscular tissues which are mer- 
cifully bestowed on the hearts of predestined widows. Dr. Ricca- 
bocca could not pursue the subject of life insurances further. But 
the idea — which had never occurred to the foreigner before, though 
so familiar to us English people when only possessed of a life income 
— pleased him greatly. I will do him the justice to say that he preferred 
it to the thought of actually appropriating to himself and to his child 
a portion of Miss Hazeldean's dowe; - . 

Shortly afterwards he took his leave, and Mrs. Dale hastened to 
seek her husband in his study, inform him of the success of her 
matrimonial scheme, and consult him as to the chance of the Squire's 
acquiescence therein. "You see," said she, hesitatingly, "though 
the Squire might be glad to see Jemima married to some English- 
man, yet if he asks who and what is this Dr. Riccabocca, how am I 
to answer him ? " 

" You should have thought of that before," said Mr. Dale, with 
unwonted asperity ; " and, indeed, if I had ever believed anything 
serious could come out of what seemed to me so absurd, I should 
long since have requested you not to interfere in such matters. 
Good heavens ! " continued the Parson, changing colour, " if we 
should have assisted, underhand as it were, to introduce into the 
family of a man to whom we owe so much, a connection that he would 
dislike ! how base we should be ! — how ungrateful ! " 

Poor Mrs. Dale was frightened by this speech, and still more by 
her husband's consternation and displeasure. To do Mrs. Dale 
justice, whenever her mild partner was really either grieved or 
offended, her little temper vanished — she became as meek as a lamb. 
As soon as she recovered the first shock she experienced, she hastened 
to dissipate the Parson's apprehensions. She assured him that she 
was convinced that, if the Squire disapproved of Riccabocca's pre- 
tensions, the Italian would withdraw them at once, and Miss Hazel- 

YOL. i. 



146 MT NOVEL; OK, 

dean would never know of his proposals. Therefore, in that case, no 
harm would be done. 

This assurance, coinciding with Mr. Dale's convictions as to Ricca- 
bocca's scruples on the point of honour, tended much to compose the 
good man ; and if he did not, as my reader of the gentler sex would 
expect from him, feel •Uarm lest Miss Jemima's affections should have 
been irretrievably engaged, and her happiness thus put in jeopardy 
by the Squire's refusal, it was not that the Parson wanted tenderness 
of heart, but experience in womankind ; and he believed, very errone- 
ously, that Miss Jemima Hazeldean was not one upon whom a disap- 
pointment of that kind would produce a lasting impression. There- 
fore Mr. Dale, after a pause of consideration, said kmdly — 

" Well, don't vex yourself — and I was to blame quite as much as 
you. But, indeed, 1 should have thought it easier for the Squire to 
have transplanted one of his tall cedars into his kitchen-garden, than 
for you to inveigle Dr. Riccabocca into matrimonial intentions. But 
a man who could voluntarily put himself into the Parish Stocks for 
the sake of experiment, must be capable of anything ! However, I 
think it better that I, rather than yourself, should speak 1o the 
Squire, and I will go at once." 



CHAPTER XXTV. 

The Parson put on the shovel-hat, which — conjoined with other 
details in his dress peculiarly clerical, and already, even then, begin- 
ning to be out of fashion with churchmen — had served to fix upon 
him, emphatically, the dignified but antiquated style and cognomen 
of " Parson," and took his way towards the Home Farm, at which 
he expected to find the Squire. But he had scarcely entered upon 
the village green when he beheld Mr. Hazeldean, leaning both hands 
on his stick, and gazing intently upon the Parish Stocks. Now, sorry 
am I to say that, ever since the Hegira of Lenny and his mother, the 
Anti-Stockian and Revolutionary spirit in Hazeldean, which the 
memorable homily of our Parson had awhile averted or suspended, 
had broken forth afresh. For though, while Lenny was present to 
be mowed and jeered at, there had been no pity for him, yet no 
sooner was he removed from the scene of trial, than a universal com- 
passion for the barbarous usage he had received produced what is 
called "the reaction of public opinion." Not that those who had 
mowed and jeered repented them of their mockery, or considered 
themselves in the slightest degree the cause of his expatriation. No; 
they, with the rest of the villagers, laid all the blame upon the stocks. 
It was not to be expected that a lad of such exemplary character 
could be thrust into that place of ignominy, and not be sensible of 
the affront. And who, in the whole village, was safe, if such goings- 
on and puttings-in were to be tolerated in silence, and at the expense 
of the very best and quietest lad the village had ever known ? Tims, 
a few days after the widow's departure, the stocks was again the 
object of midnight desecration : it was bedaubed and bescratcbetl— 



YiUUETIES IN ENGLTSII Lli'li. 14" 

it was hacked and hewed — it was scrawled over with pithy lamenta- 
tions for Lenny, and laconic execrations on tyrants, flight after 
tright new inscriptions appeared, testifying the sarcastic wit and 
the vindictive sentiment of the parish. And perhaps the stocks was 
only spared from axe and bonfire by the convenience it afforded to 
the malice of the disaffected : it became the Pasquin of Hazeldean. 

As disaffection naturally produces a correspondent vigour in autho- 
rity, so affairs had been latelv administered with greater severity than 
had been hitherto wont in the easy rule of the Squire and his prede- 
cessors. Suspected persons were naturally marked out by Mr. Stirn, 
and reported to his employer, who, too proud or too pained to charge 
them openly with ingratitude, at first only_ passed them by in his 
walks wilh a silent and stiff inclination of his head ; and afterwards 
gradually yielding to the baleful influence of Stirn, the Squire 
grumbled forth " that he did not see why he should be always putting 
himself out of his way to show kindness to those who made such a 
return. There ought to be a difference between the good and the 
bad." Encouraged by this admission, Stirn had conducted himself 
towards the suspected parties, and their whole kith and kin, with the 
iron-handed justice that belonged to his character. For some, habi- 
tual donations of milk from the dairy, and vegetables from the gar- 
dens, were surlily suspended ; others were informed that their pigs 
were always trespassing on the woods in search of acorns ; or that 
they were violating the Game Laws in keeping lurchers. A beer- 
house, popular in the neighbourhood, but of late resorted to over- 
much by the grievance-mongers (and no wonder, since they Lad 
become the popular party), was threatened with an application to the 
magistrates for the withdrawal of its license. Sundry old women, 
whose grandsons were notoriously ill-disposed towards the stocks, 
were interdicted from gathering dead sticks under the avenues, on 
pretence that they broke down the live boughs ; and, what was more 
obnoxious to the younger members of the parish than most other 
retaliatory measures, three chestnut-trees, one walnut, and two 
cherry trees, standing at the bottom of the Park, and which had, 
from time immemorial, been given up to the youth of Hazeldean, 
were now solemnly placed under the general defence of " private 
property." And the crier had announced that, henceforth, all depre- 
dators on the fruit trees in Copse Hollow would be punished with 
the utmost rigour of the law. Stirn, indeed, recommended much 
more stringent proceedings than all these indications of a change of 
policy, which, he averred, would soon bring the parish to its senses- 
such as discontinuing many little jobs of unprofitable work tha 
employed the surplus labour of the village. But there the Squire 
falling into the department, and under the benigner influence of hi 
Harry, was as yet not properly hardened. When it came to a ques 
tion that affected the absolute quantity of loaves to be consumed by the 
graceless mouths that fed upon him, the milk of human kindness— 
with which Providence has so bountifully supplied that class of the 
mammalia called the " Bucolic," and of which our Squire had an 
extra " yield " — burst forth, and washed away all the indignation of 
the harsher Adam. 



14S VY .NOVEL; OA, 

Still your policy of half-measures, which irritates without orushiiis 
its victims, which flaps an exasperated wasp-nest with a silk pocket- 
handkerchief, instead of blowing it up with a match and train, is 
rarely successful ; and, after three or four other and much guiltier 
victims than Lenny had been incarcerated in the stocks, the parish 
of Hazeldean was ripe for any enormity. Pestilent Jacobinical tracts, 
conceived and composed in the sinks of manufacturing towns — found 
their way into the popular beer-house — heaven knows how, though 
the Tinker was suspected of being the disseminator by all but Stirn, 
who still, in a whisper, accused the Papishers. And, finally, there 
appeared amongst the other graphic embellishments which the poor 
stocks had received, the rude graoure of a gentleman in a broad- 
brimmed hat and top-boots, suspended from a gibbet, with the inscrip- 
tion beneath — "A warnin to hall tirans — mind your hi! — sighndc 
Captin sTraw." 

It was upon this significant and emblematic portraiture that the 
Squire was gazing when the Parson joined him. 

" Well, Parson," said Mr. Hazeldean, with a smile which he meant 
to be pleasant and easy, but which was exceedingly bitter and grim, 
" I wish you joy of your flock — you see they have just hanged me in 
effigy!" 

The parson stared, and though greatly shocked, smothered his 
emotions ; and attempted, with the wisdom of the serpent and the 
mildness of the dove, to find another original for the effigy. 

" It is very bad," quoth he, " but not so bad as all that, Sqi>:''.'e ; 
that's not the shape of vour hat. It is evidently meant far Mr. 
Stirn." 

"Do you think so?" said the Squire, softened. "Yet the top- 
boots — Stirn never wears top-boots." 

" No more do you, except in the hunting-field. If you look again, 
those are not tops — they are leggings — Stirn wears leggings. Be- 
sides, that flourish, which is meant for a nose, is a kind of a hook, 
like Stirn' s ; whereas your nose — though by no means a snub — rather 
turns up than not, as the Apollo's does, according to the plaster cast 
in Biccabocca's parlour." 

"Poor Stirn!" said the Squire, in a tone that evinced compla- 
cency, not unmingled with compassion, " that's what a man get's in 
this world by being a faithful servant, and doing his duty with zeal 
for liis employer. But you see that things have come to a strange 
pass, and the question now is, what course to pursue. The miscreaiits 
iiitherto have defied all vigilance, and Stirn recommends the employ- 
ment of a regular night-watch, with a lanthorn and bludgeon." 

"That may protect the stocks certainly; but will it keep those 
detestable tracts out of the beer-house?" 

" We shall shut the beer-house up the next sessions." 

" The tracts will break out elsewhere — the humour's in tae 
blood!" 

" I've half a mind to run off to Brighton or Leamington — good 
hunting at Leamington — for a year, just to let the rogues see how 
they can get on without me !" 

The Squire's lip trembled. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIF2 149 

" My dear Air. Hazeldean," said the Parson, taking Lis friend's 
hand, "I don't want to parade my superior wisdom ; but, if you had 
taken my advice, quieta non mocere! Was there ever a parish so 
peaceable as this, or a country-gentleman so beloved as you were, 
before you undertook the task which has dethroned kings and ruined 
states — that of wantonly meddling with antiquity, whether for the 
purpose of uncalled-for repairs, or the revival of obsolete uses ?" 

At this rebuke, the Squire did not manifest his constitutional ten- 
dencies to choler ; but he replied almost meekly, " If it were to do 
agak, faith, I would leave the parish to the enjoyment of the shab- 
biest pair of stocks that ever disgraced a village. Certainly 1 meant 
it for the best — an ornament to the green ; however, now the stocks 
is rebuilt, the stocks must be supported. Will Hazeldean is not the 
man to give way to a set of thankless rapscallions." 

" I think," said the Parson, " that you will allow that the House 
of Tudor, whatever its faults, was a determined, resolute dynasty 
enough — high-hearted and strong-headed. A Tudor would never 
have fallen into the same calamities as the poor Stuart did ! " 

" What the plague has the House of Tudor got to do with my 
stocks?" 

" A great deal. Henry VIII. found a subsidy so unpopular that 
he gave it up ; and the people, in return, allowed him to cut off 
as many heads as he pleased, besides those in his own family. Good 
Queen Bess, who, I know, is your idol in history " 

" To be sure ! — she knighted my ancestor at Tilbury Fort." 

" Good Queen Bess struggled hard to maintain a certain monopoly ; 
she saw it would not do, and she surrendered it with that frank 
heartiness which becomes a sovereign, and makes surrender a grace." 

" Ha ! and you would have me give up the stocks ?" 

" I would much rather the stocks had remained as it was before 
you touched it ; but, as it is, if you could find a good plausible pre- 
text — and there is an excellent one at hand : — the sternest kings open 
prisons, and grant favours, upon joyful occasions — now a marriage hi 
the royal family is of course a joyful occasion !— and so it should be 
in that of the King of Hazeldean." Admire that artful turn in the 
Parson's eloquence ! — it was worthy of Riccabocca himself. Indeed, 
Mr. Dale had profited much by his companionship with that Machi- 
avellian intellect. 

" A marriage— yes ; but Prank has only just got into coat tails ! " 

" I did not allude to Prank, but to your cousin Jemima !" 



CHAPTER XXV 

The Squire staggered as if the breath had been knocked out c f 
him, and, for want of a better seat, sat down on the stocks. 

All the female heads in the neighbouring cottages peered, them- 
selves unseen, through the casements. What could the Squire be 
about ? — what new mischief did he meditate ? Did he mean to fortify 
tke stocks ? Old Gaffer Solomons, who had an indefinite idea of thu 



i50 MY NOVEL; OL, 

lawful power of squires, and who had been for the last ten minutes 
at watch on his threshold, shook his head and said—" Them as a cut 
out the mon a-hanging, as a put it in the Squire's head ! " 

"Put what ?" asked his grand-daughter. 

"The gallus!" answered Solomons — "he be a-goin^ to have it 
hung from the great elm-tree. And the Parson, good mon, is a- 
quoting Scripture agin it — you see he's a-taking off his gloves, and 
a-putting his two haji's together, as he do when he pray for the sick, 
Jeany." 

That description of the Parson's mien and manner, which, with his 
usual niceness of observation, Gaffer Solomons thus sketched off, will 
convey to you some idea of the earnestness with which the Parson 
pleaded the cause he had undertaken to advocate. He dwelt much 
upon the sense of propriety which the foreigner had evinced in 
requesting that the Squire might be consulted before any formal com- 
munication to his cousin ; and he repeated Mrs. Dale's assurance, 
that such were Kiccabocca's high standard of honour and belief in 
the sacred rights of hospitality, that, if the Squire withheld Ids con- 
sent to his proposals, the Parson was convinced that the Italian would 
instantly retract them. Now, considering that Miss Hazeldean was, 
to say the least, come to years of discretion, and the Squire had long 
since placed her property entirely at her own disposal, Mr. Hazeldean 
was forced to acquiesce in the Parson's corollary remark, " That this 
was a delicacy which could not be expected from every English pre- 
tender to the lady's hand." Seeing that he had so far cleared ground, 
the Parson went on to intimate, though with great tact, that since 
Miss Jemima would probably marry sooner or later (and, indeed that 
the Squire could not wish to prevent her), it might be better for all 
parties concerned that it shoidd be with some one who, though a 
foreigner, was settled in the neighbourhood, and of whose character 
what was known was certainly favourable, rather than run the hazard 
of her being married for her money by some adventurer, or Irish 
fortune-hunter, at the watering-places she yearly visited. Then he 
touched lightlv on Kiccabocca's agreeable and companionable quali- 
ties ; and concluded with a skilful peroration upon the excellent occa- 
sion the wedding would afford to reconcile Hall and parish, by making 
a voluntary holocaust of the stocks. 

As he concluded, the Squire's brow, before thoughtful, though not 
sullen, cleared up benignly. To say truth, the Squire was dying to 
get rid of the stocks, if lie could but do so handsomely and with 
dignity ; and had all the stars in the astrological horoscope conjoined 
together to give Miss Jemima " assurance of a husband," they could 
not so have served her with the Squire, as that conjunction between 
the altar and the stocks which the Parson had effected ! 

Accordingly, when Mr. Dale had come to an end, the Squire replied, 
with great placidity and good sense, " That Mr. Rickeybockey had 
behaved very much like a gentleman, and that he was very mucl. 
obliged to him ; that he (the Snuire) had no right to interfere in the 
matter, farther than with his advice ; that Jemima was old enough to 
choose for herself, and that, as the Parson had implied, after all, she 
might go aiihei' r.:id fare worse — indeed, the farther she went (that 



VAJUETLKS IJV E-MilASii Llfi. 101 

is, the longer she waited), the worse she was likely to fare. I own, 
for my part," continued the Squire, " that though I like Rickey- 
bockey very much, i never suspected that Jemima was caught with 
his long face; but there's no accounting for tastes. My Harry, 
indeed, was more shrewd, and gave me many a hint, for which 1 only 
laughed at her. Still I ought to have thought it looked queer when 
Mounseer took to disguising himself by leaving oil' his glasses, ha — 
ha ! I wonder what Harry will say ; let's go and talk to her." 

The Parson, rejoiced at this easy way of taking the matter, hooked 
his arm into the Squire's, and they walked amicably towards the Hau. 
But on coming first into the gardens they found Mrs. liazeldean her- 
self, clipping dead leaves or fading flowers from her rose-trees. The 
Squire stole slily behind her, and startled her in her turn by putting 
his am round her waist, and saluting her smooth cheek with one of 
his hearty kisses ; which, by the way, from some association of ideas, 
was a conjugal freedom that he usually indulged whenever a wedding 
was going on in the village. 

" Eie, William ! " said Mrs. Hazeldean, coyly, and blushing as she 
saw the Parson. " Well, who's going to be married now ?" 

" Lord, was there ever such a woman ? — she's guessed it ! " cried 
the Sqvire, in great admiration. " Tell her all about it, Parson." 
The Parson obeyed. 

Mrs. Hazeldean, as the reader may suppose, showed much less 
surprise than her husband had done ; but she took the news gra- 
ciously, and made much the same answer as that which liad occurred 
to the Squire, only with somewhat more qualification and reserve. 
" Signor Biccabocca had behaved very handsomely ; and though a 
daughter of the Hazeldeans of Hazeldean might expect a much better 
marriage vn a worldly point of view, yet as the lady in question had 
deferred fending one so long, it would be equally idL' and impertinent 
now to quarrel with her choice — if indeed she should decide on 
accepting Signor Biccabocca. As for fortune, that was a considera- 
tion for the two contracting parties. Still, it ought to be pointed 
out to Miss Jemima that the interest of her fortune would afford but 
a very small income. That Dr. Biccabocca was a widower was 
another matter for deliberation ; and it seemed rather suspicious that 
he should have been hitherto so close upon all matters connected with 
his former life. Certainly his manners were in his favour, and as lon» 
:;s he wis merely an acquaintance, and at most, a tenant, no one had 
aright to institute inquiries of a strictly private nature; but that, 
when he was about to marry a Hazeldean of Hazeldean, it became 
the Squre at least to know a Little more abom him — who and what 
he was. Why did he leave his own country ? English people went 
abroad to save : no foreigner would choose England as a country in 
winch to save money ! She supposed that a foreign Doctor was no 
very great things • probably he had been a professor in some Italian 
nniversty. At all events, if the Squire interfered at all, it was or. 
such pants that he should request information." 

"My dear madam," said the Parson, " what you say is extremely 
just, as to the causes which have induced our friend to expatriate 
himseli, I think we used not look far for them. He is evidently one 



3 52 KV NOV/.!;. OK, 

of the many Italian refugees whom political disturbances have driven 
to a, land of which it is the boast to receive all exiles of whatever 
party. For his respectability of birth and family he certainly ought 
1,0 obtain some vouchers. And if that be the only objection, I trust 
we may soon congratulate Miss Hazeldean on a marriage with a man 
who, though certainly very poor, has borne privations without a 
murmur ; has preferred all hardship to debt ; has scorned to attempt 
betraying the young lady into any clandestine connection ; who, in 
short, has shown himself so upright and honest, that I hope my dear 
Air. Hazeldean will forgive him if he is only a doctor — probably of 
Laws — and not, as most foreigners pretend to be, a marquis or a 
baron at least." 

" As to that," cried the Squire, " 'tis the best thing I know about 
.Rickeybockey, that he don't attempt to humbug us by any such 
foreign trumpery. Thank heaven, the Hazeldeans of Hazeldean were 
never tuft-hunters and title-mongers ; and if I never ran after an 
English lord, I should certainly be devilishly ashamed of a brother- 
in-law whom I was forced to call markee or count ! I should feel 
sure he was a courier, or runaway valley-de-sham. Turn up your nose 
at a doctor, indeed, Harry ; — pshaw, good English style that ! 
Doctor ! my aunt married a Doctor of Divinity — excellent man — 
wore a wig, and was made a dean ! So long as Rickeybockey is not a 
doctor of physic, I don't care a button. If he's that, indeed, r, would 
be suspicious ; because, you see, those foreign doctors of physic are 
quacks, and tell fortunes, and go about on a stage with a Merry- 
Andrew." 

" Lord, Hazeldean ! where on earth did you pick up that idea ? " said 
Harry, laughing. 

" Pick it up ! — why, I saw a fellow myself at the cattle-fair last 
year — when I was buying short horns — with a red waistcoat and a 
cocked hat, a little like the Parson's shovel. He called himself 
Doctor Phoscophornio— and sold pills ! The Merry -Andrew was the 
funniest creature— in salmon-coloured tights— turned head over heels, 
and said he came from Timbuctoo. No, no; if llickc\ hockey's a 
physic Doctor, we shall have Jemima in a pink tinsel dress, tramping 
about the country in a caravan ! " 

At this notion both the Squire and his wife laughed so heartily, that 
llie Parson felt the thing was settled, and slipped away, villi the 
intention of making his report to lliccaboccu. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

It was with a slight disturbance of his ordinary suave aid well- 
ored equanimity that the Italian received the information, that he 
need apprehend' no obstacle to his suit from the insular prejudices or 
the worldly views of the lady's family. Not that he was lrean and 
cowardly enough to recoil from the near and unclouded jrospect 
of that felicity which he had left off his glasses to behold vith un- 
blinking inked eves:— no, there his mind was made up ; but.be bad 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 154 

met in life with much that inclines a man towards misanthrcpv, and 
be was touched not only by the interest in his welfare testified by a 
heretical priest, but by the generosity with which he was admitted 
inlo a well-born and wealthy family, despite his notorious poverty 
and his foreign descent. He conceded the propriety of the only 
stipulation, which was conveyed to him by the Parson with all the 
delicacy that became one long professionally habituated to deal with 
the subtler susceptibilities of mankind —viz., that, amongst Bicca- 
bocca's friends or kindred, some person should be found whose report 
would confirm the persuasion of his respectability entertained by his 
neighbours ; he assented, I say, to the propriety of this condition ; 
but it was not with alacrity and eagerness. His brow became clouded. 
The Parson hastened to assure him that the Squire was not a man 
qui stupet in titulis (who was besotted with titles), that he neither 
expected nor desired to find an origin and rank for his brother-in-law 
above that decent mediocrity of condition to which it was evident, 
from Pxiccabocca's breeding and accomplishments, he could easily 
establish his claim. "And though," said he, smiling, "the Squire is 
a warm politician in his own country, and would never see his sister 
again, I fear, if she married some convicted enemy of our happy con- 
stitution, yet, for foreign politics he does not care a straw ; so that 
if, as I suspect, your exile arises from some quarrel with your 
Government — which, being foreign, he takes for granted must be 
insupportable — he would but consider you as he would a Saxon who 
tied from the iron hand of William the Conqueror, or a Lancastrian 
expelled by the Yorkists in our Wars of the Roses." 

The Italian smiled. " Mr. Hazeldean shall be satisfied," said he 
simply. " I see, by the Squire's newspaper, that an English gentle- 
man who knew me in my own country has just arrived in London. 
I will write to him for a testimonial, at least to my probity and cha- 
racter. Probably he may be known to you by name — nay, he must 
lie, for he was a distinguished officer in the late war. I allude to 
Lord L'Estrange." 

The Parson started. 

" You know Lord L'Estrange ?— a profligate, bad man, I fear." 

"Profligate!— bad!" exclaimed Fuccabocca. "Well, calumnious 
p.s the world is, I should never have thought that such expressions 
would be applied to one who, though I knew him but little — Knew 
him chiefly by the service he once rendered to me — first taught me to 
love and revere the Engbsh name !" 

" He may be changed since " The Parson paused. 

"Since when?" asked Riccabocca, with evident curiosity. 

Mr. Dale seemed embarrassed. " Excuse me," said he, " it is many 
years ago ; and, in short, the opinion I then formed of the nobleman 
you named was based upon circumstances which I cannot com- 
municate." 

The punctilious Italian bowed in silence, but he still looked as if 
he should have liked to prosecute inquiry. 

After a pause, he said, " Whatever your impression respecting Lord 
^'Estrange, there is nothing, I suppose, which would lead you to 
doubt his honour, or reject his testimonial in my favour?" 



15* U.Y HOv£i,; Ott, 

"According to fashionable morality," said Sir. Da;e, rather pre- 
cisely, " I know or nothing that could induce me to suppose that Lord 
L'Estrange would not, in this instance, speak the tnrh. And he has 
unquestionably a high reputation as a soldier, anc a considerable 
position in the world." Therewith the parson took his leave. A few 
days afterwards, Dr. Biccabocca enclosed to the Squire, in a blank 
envelope, a letter he had received from Harley L'Estrange. It was 
evidently intended for the Squire's eye, and to serve as a voucher for 
the Italian's respectability ; but this object was fulfilled, not m the 
coarse form of a direct testimonial, but with a tact and delicacy which 
seemed to show more than the fine breeding to be expected from one 
in Lord L'Estrange's station. It evinced that most exquisite of all 
politeness which comes from the heart : a certain tone of affectionate 
respect (which even the homely sense of the Squire felt, intuitively, 
proved far more in favour of Biccabocca than the most elaborate 
certificate of his qualities and antecedents) pervaded the whole, and 
would have sufficed in itself to remove all scruples from a mind much 
more suspicious and exacting than that of the Squire of Hazeldean. 
But, lo and behold ! an obstacle now occurred to the Parson, of which 
he ought to have thought long before — viz., the Papistical religion of 
the Italian. Dr. Biccabocca was professedly a Roman Catholic. 
He so little obtruded that fact — and, indeed, had assented so readily 
to any animadversions upon the superstition and priestcraft which, 
according to Protestants, are the essential characteristics of Papistical 
conimunfties — that it was not till the hymeneal torch, which brings 
all faults to light, was fairly illumined for the altar, that the remem- 
brance of a faith so cast into the shade burst upon the conscience of the 
Parson. The first idea that then occurred to him was the proper and 
professional one — viz., the conversion of Dr. Biccabocca. He 
hastened to his study, took down from his shelves long-neglected 
volumes of controversial divinity, armed himself with an arsenal of 
authorities, arguments, and texts ; then, seizing the shovel-hat, posted 
off to the Casino. 



CHAPTEB XXVII. 

The Parson burst upon the philosopher like an avalanche! Ho 
was so full of his subject that he could not let it out in prudent 
driblets. No, he went souse upon the astounded Biccabocca — 

" Tremendo 
Jupiter ipse mens tumultu." 

The sage— shrinking deeper into his arm-chair, and drawing his 
dressing-robe more closely round him — suffered the Parson to talk for 
three-quarters of an hour, till, indeed, he had thoroughly proved his 
case ; and, like Brutus, " paused for a reply." 

Then said Biccabocca, mildly, " Id much of what you have urged 
so ably, and so suddenly, I am inclined to agree. But base is the 
man who formally forswears the creed he has inherited from his 
fathers, and professed since the cradle up to years of maturity, wbsa 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LITE. I5& 

the change presents itself in the guise of a bribe ; when, for such 
is human nature, he can hardly distinguish or disentangle the appeal 
to his reason from the lure to his interests — here a text, and 
there a dowry ! — here Protestantism, there Jemima ! Own, my 
friend, that the soberest casuist would see double under the inebri- 
ating effects produced by so mixing his polemical liquors. Appeal, 
my good Mr. Dale, from Philip drunken to Philip sober I—^rom 
Riccabocca intoxicated with the assurance of your excellent lady, that 
he is about to be ' the happiest of men,' to Riccabocca accustomed to 
his happiness, and carrying it off with the seasoned equability of one 
grown familiar with stimulants — in a word, appeal from Riccabocca 
the wooer to Riccabocca the spouse. I may be convertible, but con- 
version is a slow process ; courtship should be a quick one — ask Miss 
Jemima. Fiimlmente, marry me first, and convert me afterwards !" _ 

" You take this too jestingly," began the Parson : " and I don't 
see why with your excellent understanding, truths so plain and obvious 
should not strike you at once." 

"Truths," interrupted Riccabocca, profoundly, are the slowest- 
growing things in the world ! It took fifteen hundred years from the 
date of the Christian era to produce your own Luther, and then he flung 
his Bible at Satan (I have seen the mark made by the book on the wall 
of his prison in Germany), besides running off with a nun, which no 
Protestant clergyman would think it proper and right to do now-a- 
days." Then he added, with seriousness, " Look you, my dear sir, — 
I should lose my own esteem if I were even to listen to you now with 
becoming attention, — now, I say, when you hint that the creed I have 
professed may be in the way of my advantage. If so, I must keep 
the creed and resign the advantage. But if, as I trust — not only as a 
Cliristian, but a man of honour — you will defer this discussion, I will 
promise to listen to you hereafter ; and though, to say the truth, I 
believe that you will not convert me, I will promise you faithfully 
never to interfere with my wife's religion." 

"And any cliildren you may have ?" 

"Children!" said Dr. Riccabocca, recoiling — "you are not con- 
tented with filing your pocket-pistol right in my face ; you must also 
pepper me all over with small-shot. Children ! well, if they are girls, 
let them follow the faith of their mother ; and if boys, while in child- 
hood, let them be contented with learning to be Christians ; and 
when they grow into men, let them choose for themselves which is the 
best form for the practice of the great principles which all sects have 
in common." 

" But," began Mr. Dale again, pulling a large book from his 
pocket. 

Dr. Riccabocca flung open the window, and jumped out of it. 

It was the rapidest and most dastardly flight you could possibl;, 
conceive ; but it was a great compliment to the argumentative powers 
of the Parson, and he felt it as such. Nevertheless, Mr. Dale thought 
it right to have a long conversation, both with the Squire and Mks 
Jemima herself, upon the subject which his intended convert had so 
ignominously escaped. 

The Squire, though a great foe to Popery, politically considered,,. 



166 Hr novel; ok, 

had also quite as great a hatred to renegades and apostates. And in 
bis heart he would have despised Riccabocca if he could have thrown 
off his religion as easily as he had done his spectacles. Therefore lie 
said simply — " Well, it is certainly a great pity that Kickeybockey is 
not of the Church of England, though, 1 take it, that would be 
unreasonable to expect in a man born and bred under the nose of the 
Inquisition" (the Squire firmly believed that the Inquisition was u? 
full force in all the Italian states, with whips, racks, and thumb. 
screws ; and, indeed, his chief information of Italy was gathered from 
a perusal he had given in early youth to The Oue-Handed Monk) : 
" but I think he speaks very fairly, on the whole, as to his wife and 
children. And the thing's gone too far now to retract. It's all your 
fault for noL thinking of it before ; and I've now just made up my 
mind as to the course to pursue respecting the — d — d stocks ! " 

As for Miss Jemima, the Parson left her with a pious thanksgiving 
that Eiccabocca at least was a Christian, and not a Pagan, Mahometan, 
or Jew ! 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

There is that in a wedding which appeals to a universal sympathy. 
No other event in the lives of their superiors in rank creates an equal 
sensation amongst the humbler classes. 

From the moment the news that Miss Jemima was to be married 
had spread throughout the village, all the old affection for the Squire 
and his House burst forth the stronger for its temporary suspension. 
Who could think of the stocks in such a season ? The stocks was 
swept out of fashion — hunted from remembrance as completely as the 
question of Repeal or the thought of Rebellion from the warm Irish 
heart, when the fair young face of the Royal Wife beamed on the 
sister isle. 

Again cordial curtseys were dropped at the thresholds by which 
the Squire passed to his own farm ; again the sun-burnt brows 
uncovered — no more with sullen ceremony — were smoothed into 
cheerful gladness at his nod. Nay, the little ones began again to 
assemble at their ancient rendezvous by the stocks, as if" either 
familiarised with the Phenomenon, or convinced that, in the general 
sentiment of good-will, its powers of evil were annulled. 

The Squire tasted once more the sweets of the only popularity 
which is much worth having, and the loss of which a wise mail 
would reasonably deplore — viz., the popularity which arises from a 

fersuasion of our goodness, and a reluctance to recall our faults. 
ake all blessings, the more sensibly felt from previous interrup- 
tion, the Squire enjoyed this restored popularity with an exhilarated 
srense of existence ; his stout heart beat more vigorously : his stalwart 
step trod more lightly ; his comely English face looked comeiier and 
more English than ever ;— you would have been a merrier man for a 
week to have come within hearing of his jovial laugh. 

He felt grateful to Jemima and to Riccabocca as the special agents 
of Providence in this general i.degratio anions. To have looked fit 



TAr.IETIES IN ENGLISH LI??.. 157 

dim, you would suppose that it was the Squire who was going to be 
married a second time to his Harry ! 

One may well conceive that such would have been an inauspicious 
moment for Parson Dale's theological scruples. To have stopped 
that marriage — chilled all the sunshine it diffused over the village — 
seen himself surrounded again by long sulky visages, — I verily believe, 
though a better friend of Church and State never stood on a hustings, 
that, rather than court such a revulsion, the Squire would have found 
Jesuitical excuses for the marriage if Riccabocca had been discovered 
to be the Pope in disguise ! As for the stocks, its fate was now 
irrevocably sealed. In short, the marriage was concluded — first 
privately, according to the bridegroom's creed, by a Roman Catholic 
clergyman, who lived in a town some miles off, and next publicly in 
the village church of Hazeldean. 

It was the heartiest rural wedding ! Village girls strewed flowers 
on the way ; — a booth was placed amidst the prettiest scenery of the 
Park on the margin of the lake — for there was to be a dance later in 
the day; — an ox was roasted whole. Even Mr. Stirn — no, Mr. Stirn 
was not present, so much happiness would have been the death of 
him ! And the Papisher too, who had conjured Lenny out of the 
stocks ; nay, who had himself sat in the stocks for the very purpose 
of bringing them into contempt — the Papisher ! he had as lief Miss 
Jemima had married the devil ! Indeed he was persuaded that, 
in point of fact, it was all one and the same. Therefore Mr. Stirn 
had asked leave to go and attend his uncle the pawnbroker, 
about to undergo a torturing operation for the stone ! Prank was 
there, summoned from Eton for the occasion — having grown two 
inches taller since he left — for the one inch of which nature was to 
be thanked, for the other a new pair of resplendent Wellingtons. 
But the boy's joy was less apparent than that ol others. Por Jemima 
was a special favourite with him, as she would have been with 
all boys — for she was always kind and gentle, and made him many 
pretty presents whenever she came from the watering-places. And 
Frank knew that he should miss her sadly, and thought she had made 
a very queer choice. 

Captain Higginbotham had been invited ; but, to the astonishment 
of Jemima, he had replied to the invitation by a letter to herself, 
marked "private and confidential." " She must have long known," 
said the latter, " of his devoted attachment to her ! motives of deli- 
cacy, arising from the narrowness of his income, and the magnanimity 
of his sentiments, had alone prevented his formal proposals ; but now 
that he was informed (he could scarcely believe his senses or com- 
mand his passions) that her relations wished to force her into a 
barbarous marriage with a foreigner of most forbidding ap- 
pearance, and most adject circumstances, he lost not a moment in 
laying at her feet his own hand and fortune. And he did this the 
more confidently, inasmuch as he could not but be aware of Miss 
Jemima's secret feelings towards him, while he was proud and happy 
to say, that his dear and diatinguished cousin, Mr. Sharpe Curne, 
had honoured him with a warmth of regard, which justified the most 
brilliant expectations — likely to be soon realised — as Jus eminent 



158 MY HOVEL; Oil, 

Telative bad contracted a very bad liver complaint m the service cf his 
country, and could not last long ! " 

In all the years they had known each other, Miss Jemima, strange 
as it may appear, had never once suspected the Captain of any other 
feelings to her than those of a brother. To say that she was not 
gratified by learning her mistake, would be to say that she was more 
than woman. Indeed, it must have been a source of no ignoble 
triumph to think that she couiu prove her disinterested affection to 
her dear Riccabocca, by a prompt rejection of this more biilliant 
offer. She couched the rejection, it is true, in the most soothing 
terms. But the Captain evidently considered himself ill used; he 
did not reply to the letter, and did not come to the weddiiu 

To let the reader into a secret, never known to Miss Jemima, 
Captain Higginbotham was much less influenced by Cupid than by 
Plutus in the offer he had made. The Captain was one of that class 
of gentlemen who read their accounts by those corpse-lights, or will- 
o'-the-wisps, called expectations. Ever since the Squire's grandfather 
had left him— then in short clothes — a legacy of £500, the Captain 
had peopled the future with expectations ! He talked of his expecta- 
tions as a man talks of shares in a Tontine ; they might fluctuate a 
little — be now up and now down — but it was morally impossible, if he 
lived on, but that he should be a millionaire one of these days. Now, 
though Miss Jemima was a good fifteen years younger than himself, 
yet she always stood for a good round sum in the ghostly books of 
the Captain. She was an expectation to the full amount of her 
£4,000, seeing that Frank was an only child, and it would be carry- 
ing coals to Newcastle to leave him anything. 

_ Rather than see so considerable a cipher suddenly sprmged out of 
his visionary ledger — rather than so much money should vanish clean 
out of the family, Captain Higginbotham had taken what he con- 
ceived, if a desperate, at least a certain, step for the preservation of 
his property. If the golden horn could not be had without the heifer, 
why, he must take the heifer into the bargain. He had never formed 
to himself an idea that a heifer so gentle would toss and fling him 
over. The blow was stunning. But no one compassionates the mis- 
fortunes of the covetous, though few perhaps are in greater need of 
compassion. And leaving poor Captain Higginbotham to retrieve 
his illusory fortunes as he best may among " the expectations " which 
gathered round the form of Mr. Sharpe Currie, who was the crossest 
old tyrant imaginable, and never allowed at his table any dishes not 
compounded with rice, which played Old Nick with the Captain's 
constitutional functions, — I return to the wedding at Hazeldean, just 
in time to see the bridegroom — who looked singularly well on the 
occasion — hand the bride (who, between sunshiny tears and affec- 
tionate smiles, was really a very interesting and even a pretty bride, 
as brides go) into a carnage which the Squire had presented to them, 
and depart on the orthodox nuptial excursion amidst the blessings of 
tLe assembled crowd. 

It may be thought strange by the unreflective that these rural 
spectators should so have approved and blessed the marriage of a 
Hazeldean of Hazeldean with a poor, outlandish, long-haired foreigner ; 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. i59 

but, besides that Ric^abocca, after all, had become one of the neigh- 
bourhood, and was proverbially "a civil-spoken gentleman," it ia 
generally noticeable ci'.at on wedding occasions the bride so mono- 
polises interest, curiosity, tw.d admiration, that the bridegroom him- 
self goes for little or notliing. He is merely the passive agent in the 
affair — the unregarded cause of the general satisfaction. It was not 
Biccabocca himself that they approved and blessed — it was the 
gentleman in the white waistcoat who had made Miss Jemima — 
Madam Rickcvbockey ! 

Leaning on "his wife's arm (for it was a habit of the Squire to lean 
on his wife's arm rather than she on his, when he was specially 
pleased; and there was something touching in the sight of that 
strong, sturdy frame thus insensibly, in hours of happiness, seeking 
dependence on the frail arm of woman) — leaning, I say, on his wife's 
arm, the Squire, about the hour of sunset, walked down to the booth 
by the lake. 

All the parish — young and old, man, woman, and child — were as- 
sembled there, and their faces seemed to bear one family likeness, in 
the common emotion which animated all, as they turned to his frank, 
fatherly smile. Squire Hazeldean stood at the head of the long^ table , 
he filled a horn with ale from the brimming tankard beside him. 
Then he looked round, and lifted his hand to request silence ; and, 
ascending the chair, rose in full view of all. Every one felt that the 
Squire was about to make a speech, and the earnestness of the atten- 
tion w™ proportioned to the rarity of the event ; for (though he was 
not napi jctised jn the oratory of the hustings) only thrice before had 
the Sciiiire made what could fairly be called " a speech " to the vil- 
lagers of Hazeldean — once on a kindred festive occasion, when he 
had presented to them his bride — once in a contested election for the 
shire, in which he took more than ordinary interest, and was not quite 
so sober as he ought to have been — once in a time of great agricultural 
distress, when, in spite of reduction of rents, the fanners had been 
compelled to discard a large number of their customary labourers ; 
and when the Squire had said — " I have given up keeping the hounds, 
because I want to make a fine piece of water" — that was the origin of 
the lake, — " and to drain all the low lands round the Park. Let every 
man who wants work come to me ! " and that sad year the pan&h 
rates of Hazeldean were not a penny the heavier. 

Now, for the fourth time, the Squire rose, and thus he spoke. At 
his right hand, Harry; at his left, Frank. At the bottom of the 
table, as vice-president, Parson Dale, his little wife behind him, only 
obscurely seen. She cried readily, and her handkerchief was ahe?.ij 
before her eyes. 



180 MY NOVEL: tn». 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE SQUIRE'S SPEECH. 

" Friends and neighbours, — I thank you kindly for coming round 
me this day, and for showing so much interest in me and mine. My 
cousin was not born amongst you as I was, but you have known her 
from a child. It is a familiar face, and one that never frowned, which 
you will miss at your cottage doors, as I and mine will miss it long 
ui the old hall " 

Here there was a sob from some of the women, and nothing was 
seen of Mrs. Dale but the white handkerchief. The Squire himself 
paused, and brushed away a tear with the back of his hand. TheB 
he resumed, with a sudden change of voice that was electrical, — 

" For we none of us prize a blessing till we have lost it ! Now, 
friends and neighbours ; a little time ago, it seemed as if some ill- 
will had crept into the village — ill-will between you and me, neigh- 
bours ! — why, that is not like H&zeldean ! " 

The audience hung their heads ! You never saw people look so 
thoroughly ashamed of themselves. The Squire proceeded,— 

" I don't say it was all your fault ; perhaps it was mine." 

" Noa — noa — noa," burst forth in a general chorus. 

" Nay, friends," continued the Squire, humbly, and in one of those 
illustrative aphorisms which, if less subtle than Biccabocca's, were 
more within reach of the popular comprehension, — " nay, we are all 
human, and every man lias his hobby; sometimes he breaks in the 
hobby, and sometimes the hobby, if it is very hard in the mouth, 
breaks in him. One man's hobby has an ill habit of always stopping 
at the public-house ! (Laughter.) Another man's hobby refuses to 
stir a peg beyond the door where some buxom lass patted its neck 
the week before — a hobby I rode pretty often when 1 went courting 
my good wife here ! (Much laughter and applause.) Others have a 
lazy hobby, that there's no getting on ; others, a runaway hobby that 
there's no stopping : but, to cut the matter short, my favourite hobby, 
as you well know, is always trotted out to any place on my property 
which seems to want the eye and hand of the master. I hate," cried 
the Squire, warming, "to see things neglected and decayed, and going 
to the dogs ! This land we live m is a good mother to us, and we 
can't do too much for her. It is very true, neighbours, that I owe her 
a good many acres, and ought to speak well of her ; but what then ? 
I five amongst you, and what I take from the rent with one hand, I 
divide amongst you with the other. (Low but assenting murmurs.) 
Now, the more I improve my property, the more mouths it feeds. 
Mv great-grandfather kept a Field-Book, in which were entered, not 
only the names of all the farmers, and the quantity of land they held, 
but the average number of the labourers each employed. My grand- 
father and father followed his example : I have done the same. ] 
find, neighbours, that our rents have doubled since my great-grand- 
father began to make the book. Ay, but there are more than fosr 



VARIETIES i:< ENGLISH LIIE. iCil 

times the number of labourers employed on tlie estate, and at much 
better wages, too ! Well, my men, that says a great deal in favour 
of improving property, and not letting it go to the dogs. (Applause.) 
And therefore, neighbours, you will kindly excuse^ my hobby: it 
carries grist to your mill. (Reiterated applause.) Well, but you will 
say, 'What's the Squire driving at?' Why this, my friends: There 
was only one worn-out, dilapidated, tumble-down thing in the parish 
of Hazeldean, and it became an eyesore to me ; so I saddled my hobby, 
and rode at it. ho ! you know what I mean now ! Yes, but 
neighbours, you need not have taken it so to heart. That was a 
semvy trick of some of you to hang me in effigy, as they call it." 

" it war'nt you," cried a voice in the crowd ; "it war Kick Stirn." 

The Squire recognised the voice of the Tinker ; but though he now 
guessed at the ringleader, on that day of general amnesty he had the 
prudence and magnanimity not to say, " Stand forth, Sprott : thou art 
the man." Yet his gallant English spirit would not suffer him to 
come off at the expense of his servant. 

" If it was Nick Stirn you meant," said he, gravely, " more shame 
for you. It showed some pluck to hang the master ; but to hang the 
poor servant, who only thought to do his duty, careless of what ill- 
will it brought upon liim, was a shabby trick, — so little like the lads 
of Hazeldean, that I suspect the man who taught it to them was 
never born in the parish. But let bygones be bygones. One thing 
is clear, you don't take kindly to my new pair of stocks ! The stocks 
has been a stumbling-block and a grievance, and there's no denying 
that we went on very pleasantly without it. I may also say that, in 
spite of it, we have been coming together again lately. And I can't 
tell you what good it did me to see your children playing again on 
the green, and your honest faces, in spite of the stocks, and those 
diabolical tracts you've been reading lately, lighted up at the thought 
that something pleasant was going on at the Hall. Do you know, 
neighbours, you put me in mind of an old story which, besides apply- 
ing to the parish, all who are married, and all who intend to marry, 
will do well to recollect. A worthy couple, named John and Joan, had 
lived happily together many a long year, till one unlucky day they 
bought a new bolster. Joan said the bolster was too hard, and John 
that it was too soft ; so, of course, they quarrelled. After sulking all 
day, they agreed to put the bolster between them at night." (Roars 
of laughter amongst the men ; the women did not know which way to 
look, except, indeed, Mrs. Hazeldean, who, though she was more 
than usually rosy, maintained her innocent, genial smile, as much as 
to say, "There is no harm in the Squire's jests.") The orator 
resumed : — " After they had thus lain apart for a little time, very 
ident and sullen, John sneezed. ' God bless you ! ' says Joan, over 
the bolster. ' Did you say God bless me ? ' cries John ; — ' then 
here goes the bolster ! ' " (Prolonged laughter and tumultuous 
applause.) 

"Friends and neighbours," said the Squire, when silence was 
restored, and lifting the horn of ale, " I have the pleasure to inform 
you that I have ordered the stocks to be taken down, and made iato 

bench for the chimney-nook of our old friend Gaffer Solomons yonder. 
- I. « 



162 MY KOViii; Ci., 

But mind me, lads, if ever you make the parish regret the loss of the 
stocks, and the overseers come to me with long faces, and say, ' the 

stocks must be rebuilded,' why " Here from all the youth of 

the village rose so deprecating a clamour, that the Squire would 
have been the most bungling orator in the world, if he had said a wora 
further on the subject. He elevated the horn over his head, — "Why, 
that's my old Hazeldean again ! Health and long life to you all ! " 

The Tinker had sneaked out of the assembly, and did not show his 
face in the village for the next sis months. And as to those poison- 
ous tracts, in spite of their salubrious labels, " The Poor Man's 
.Friend," or " The Rights of Labour," you could no more have fouud 
one of them lurking in the drawers of the kitchen-dressers in Hazel- 
dean, than you would have found the deadly nightshade on the flower- 
stands in the drawing-room of the Hall. As for the revolutionary 
beerhouse, there was no need to apply to the magistrates to shut it 
up — it shut itself up before the week was out. 

young head of the great House of Hapsburg, what a Hazeldean 
you might have made of Hungary! — What a " Moriamur pro rege 
nostro" would have'rung in your infant reign, — if you had made such 
a sr°ecb as the Squire's ! 



BOOK IV. 

INITIAL CHAPTER. 

HOMriUSING ME. CAXTON's OPINIONS ON THE MATRIMONIAL STATE, 
SUPPORTED BY LEARNED AUTHORITIES. 

" It was no bad idea of yours, Pisistratus," said my father, gra- 
ciously, " to depict the heightened affections and the serious intention 
of Signor '-Ucraboeca by a single stroke — He left off Ids spectacles! 
Good." 

" Yet," quoth my uncle, " I think Shakspeare represents a lover as 
falling into slovenly habits, neglecting his person, and suffering his 
hose to be ungartered, rather than paying that attention to his outer 
man which induces Signor Riccabocca to leave off his spectacles, and 
iook as handsome as nature will permit him." 

:< There are different degrees and many phases of the passion, " 
replied my father. " Shakspeare is speaking of an ill-treated, pining, 
woe-begone lover, much aggrieved by the cruelty of his mistress — a 
lover wno has found it of no avail to smarten himself up, and has 
fallen despondently into the opposite extreme. Whereas Signor 
Riccabocca has nothing to complain of in the barbarity of Miss 
Jemima." 

" Indeed he has not ! " cried Blanche, tossing her head — " fovsv?,-^ 
creature ' " 



VABlETIES IN" ENGLISH LI?2. i:,j 

" Yes, my dear/' said my mother, trying her best to look 'lately, 
"J am decidedly of opinion that, in that respect, Pisistratus lias 
lowered the dignity of the sex. Not intentionally," added my mother, 
mildly, and afraid she had said something too bitter; "but it is very 
hard" for a man to describe us women." 

The Captain nodded approvingly ; Mr. Squills smiled; my father 
quietly resumed the thread of his discourse. 

" To continue," quoth he. " Biccabocca has no reason to despair of 
success in his suit, nor any object in moving his mistress to compas- 
sion. He may, therefore, very properly tie up his garters and lcn T "c 
of his spectacles. "What do you say, Mr. Squills ? — for, after ail, 
since love-making cannot fail to be a great constitutional derange- 
ment, the experience of a medical man must be the best to 
consult." 

_ "Mr. Caxton," replied Squills, obviously flattered, "you are quit.' 
right : when a man makes love, the organs of self-esteem and desire 
of applause are greatly stimulated, and therefore, of course, he sets 
himself off to the best advantage. It is only, as you observe, when, 
like Shakspeare's lover, he has given up making love as a bad job, 
and has received that severe hit on the ganglions which the cruelty 
of a mistress inflicts, that he neglects his personal appearance : he 
neglects it, not because he is in love, but because his nervous system 
is depressed. That was the cause, if you remember, with poor Major 
Prim. He wore his wig all awry when Susan Srrrwt n'fed him ; but 
I set it right for him." 

" By shaming Miss Smart into repentance, or gettii^. him a new 
sweetheart ? " asked my uncle. 

"Pooh ! " answered Squills, "by quinine and cold bathing." 

"We may therefore' grant," renewed my father, "that, as a general 
rule, the process of courtship tends to the sprnceness, and even fop- 
pery, of the individual engaged in the experiment, as Vol* aire has 
very prettily proved somewhere. Kay, the Mexican-., indeed were of 
opinion that the lady at least ought to continue those carp of her 
person even after marriage. There is extant, in Sahagun's nh-'uni of 
New Spain, the advice of en Aztec or Mexican mother to her daugh- 
ter, in which she says, — ' That your husband may not take you in dis- 
like, adorn yourself, wash yourself, and let your garments be clean.' 
It is true that the good lady adds, — ' Do it in moderation ; since, if 
every day you are washing yourself and your clothes, the world will 
say that you are over-delicate ; and particular people will call you — 
tapetzon tinemaxoch ! ' What those words precisely mean," 
added my father, modestly, "I cannot say, since 1 never had the 
opportunity to acquire the ancient Aztec language — but something 
very opprobrious and horrible, no doubt." 

'"' i dare say a philosopher like Signor Biccabocca," said my uncle, 
"was not himself very Tapetzon tine — what d'ye call it? — and a good 
healthy English wife, that poor affectionate Jemima, was thrown 
away upon him." 

"Kolandj" said my father, "you don't like foreigners : a respect- 
able prejudice, and quite natural in a man who has been trying his> 
>s #si to hew them in pieces and blow them up into splinters. But yc 

KI 9 



164 



'l SUT8L. OR, 



don't like philosophers either— aud for that dislike jou Lave no 
equally good reason." 

"I only implied that they are not much addicted to soap and 
water," said my uncle. 

" A notable mistake. Many great philosophers have been very 
great beaux. Aristotle was a notorious fop. Buffon put on his best 
.aced ruffles when he sat down to write, which implies that he washed 
his hands first. Pythagoras insists greatly on the holiness of frequent 
ablutions ; and Horace — who, in his own way, was as good a philoso- 
pher as any the Romans produced — takes care to let us know what a 
neat, well-dressed, dapper little gentleman lie was. But I don't think 
you ever read the 'Apology of Apuleius? ' " 

"Not I — what is it about?" asked the Captain. 

"About a great many things. It is that Sage's vindication from 
several malignant charges— amongst others, and principally, indeed, 
that of being much too refined and effeminate for a philosopher. 
Nothing can exceed the rhetorical skill with which he excuses him- 
self for using— toothpowder. ' Ought a philosopher,' he exclaims, 
' to allow anything unclean about him, especially in the mouth — the 
mouth, which is the vestibule of the soul, the gate of discourse, the 
portico of thought ! Ah, but iEmilianus [the accuser of ApuleiusJ 
never opens his mouth but for slander and calumny — tooth-powder 
would indeed be unbecoming to him ! Or, if he use any, it will not 
be my good Arabian tooth-powder, but charcoal and cinders. Ay, his 
teeth should be as ibid as his language ! And yet even the crocodile 
likes to have his teeth cleaned ; insects get into them, and horrible 
reptile though he be, he opens his jaws inoffensively to a faithful den- 
tistical bird, who volunteers his beak for a took-pick.' " 

My father was now warm in the subject he had started, and soared 
miles away from Riccabocca and " My Novel." " And observe," he 
exclaimed — " observe with what gravity this eminent. Platonist pleads 
guilty to the charge of having a mirror. ' Why, wtuc,;' he exclaims 
\ more worthy of the regards of a human creature than his own 
image,' {nihil respectabilius homini qitam formam swam /) Is not that 
one of our children the most dear to us who is called ' the picture of 
his father ? ' But take what pains you will with a picture, it cau 
never be so like you as the face in your mirror ! Think it discredit- 
able to look with proper attention on one's-self in the glass ! Did not 
Socrates recommend such attention to his disciples — did he not make 
a great moral agent of the speculum ? The handsome^ in admiring 
their beauty therein, were admonished that handsome is who hand- 
some does ; and the more the ugly stared at themselves, the more 
they became naturally anxious to liide the disgrace of tiieir features 
in the loveliness of their merits. Was not Demosthenes always at 
his speculum ? Did he not rehearse his causes before it as before a 
master in the art ? He learned his tloquence from Plato, his dialec- 
tics from Eubulides ; but as for his delivery — there, he came to the 



mirror 



" Therefore," concluded Mr. Caxton, returning unexpectedly to the 
subject—" therefore, it is no reason to suppose that Dr, Riccabocca 
is averse to cleanliness and decent care of the person because he is a 



VARIETIES IK ENGLISH LIFE. 165 

philosopher; and, all things considered, he never showed himself 
more a philosopher than when he left off Ins spectacles and looked his 
best." 

" Well," said my mother kindly, " I only hope it may turn out hap- 
pily. But I should have been better pleased if Pisistratus had not 
made Dr. Riccabocca so reluctant a woer." 

"Very true," said the Captain; "the Italian does not shine as a 
lover. Throw a little more fire into him, Pisistratus— something gal- 
lant and chivalrous." 

"Fire — gallantry — chivalry!" cried my father, who had taken 
Riccabocca under his special protection — " why, don't vou see that 
the man is described as a philosopher ? — and I should like to know 
when a philosopher ever plunged into matrimony without considerable 
misgivings and cold shivers. Indeed, it seems that — perhaps bef jre 
he was a philosopher — Riccabocca had tried the experiment, and 
knew what it w-as. Why, even that plain-speaking, sensible, practical 
man, Metellus Is umidicus, who was not even a philosopher, but only 
a Roman Censor, thus expressed himself in an exhortation to the peo- 
ple to perpetrate matrimony — ' If, Quirites, we could do withou* 
wives, we should all dispense with that subject of care (ed molesha, 
careremus) ; but since nature has so managed it that we cannot 
live with women comfortably, nor without them at all, let us 
rather provide for the human race than our own temporary 

felicity. 5 " 

Here the ladies set up a cry of such indignation, that both Roland 
and myself endeavoured to appease their wrath by hasty assurances 
that we utterly repudiated the damnable doctrine of Metellus Numi- 
dicus. 

_ My father, wholly unmoved, as soon as a sullen silence was estab- 
lished, recommenced — " Do not think, ladies," said he, " that you were 
without advocates at that day: there were many_ Romans gallant 
enough to blame the Censor for a mode of expressing himself which 
they held to be equally impolite and injudicious. ' Surely,' said they, 
with some plausibility, c if Numidicus wished men to marry, he need 
not have referred so peremptorily to the disquietudes of the connec- 
tion, and thus have made them more inclined to turn away from 
matrimony than given them a relish for it.' But against these critics 
one honest man (whose name of Titus Castricius should not be for- 
gotten by posterity) maintained that Metdlus Numidicus could not 
have spoken more properly^ Tor remark,' said he, 'that Metellus 
was a censor, not a rhetorician. It becomes rhetoricians to adorn 
and disguise, and make the best of things ; but Metellus, sanctus vi> 
—a holy and blameless man, grave and sincere to wit, and addressing 
the Roman people in the solemn capacity of Censor — was Hound to 
speak the plain truth, especially as he was treating of a subjectou 
which the observation of every day, and the experience of every life, 
could not leave the least doubt upon the mind of his audience.' 
Still, Riccabocca, having decided to marry, has no doubt prepared 
himself to bear all the concomitant evils — as becomes a professed 
sage; # and I own I admire the art with which Pisistratus has drawn 
the kind of woman most likely to suit a philosoDher " 



166 Ml KOV.fi,; v ' . 

Pisistratus bows and looks round complacently , U±t recoils from 
two very peevish and discontented faces feminine. 

Mb Caxton" (completing his sentence.) — Not only as regards 
mildness of temper and other househould qualifications, but as regards 
the very person of the object of his choice. i r 'or you evidently remem- 
ber, Pisistratus, the reply of Bias, when asked his opinion on mar- 
riage : '"Hroi Ka\))v i%ug !) aivxp'lv' xai ft Ka\i)v, "?:<<; KuivifV fi Si) 
aiaxp&v, i'ib, j ttoivi'ip' 

Pisistratus tries to look as if he hxd the opinion of Bias by heart, 
and ueds acquiescingly. 

Mr. Caxton. — That is, my dears, "the woman you would marry 
is either handsome or ugly : if handsome, she is koine, viz., you don't 
have her to yourself; if ugly, she is pione — that is, a fury." But, as 
it is observed in Aulus Geliius (whence I borrow this citation), there 
is a wide interval between handsome and ugly. And thus Ennius, in 
his tragedy of Afcnalippus, uses an admirable expression to designate 
women of the proper degree of matrimonial comeliness, such as a 
philosopher would select. He calls this degree statu forma — a 
rational, mediocre sort of beauty, which is not liable to be either 
koine or pione. And Favorinus, who was a remarkably sensible man, 
and came from Provence — the male inhabitants of wliich district have 
always valued themselves on their knowledge of love and ladies — 
calls this said stata forma the beauty of wives— the uxorial beauty 
Ennius says, that women of a statu forma are almost always safe ami 
modest. Now, Jemima, you observe, is described as possessing this 
statu forma ; and it is the nicety of your observation in this respect, 
which I like the most in the whole of your description of a philo- 
sopher's matrimonial courtship, Pisistratus (excepting only the stroke 
of the spectacles), for it shows that you had properly considered the 
opinion of Bias, and mastered all the counter-logic suggested in 
Book V., chapter xi., of Aulus Geliius. 

" For all that," said Blanche, half archly, half demurely, with a 
smile in the eye and a pout of the lip, '' i don't remember that Pisis- 
tratus, in the days when he wished to be most complimentary, ever 
assured me that I had a stata forma — a rational, mediocre sort ot 
beauty." 

"And I think," observed my uncle, "tlmt when he comes to his 
real heroine, whoever she may be, he will not trouble his head much 
about either Bias or Aulus Geliius." 



CHAPTEP 11. 

Matbijioxy is certainly a great change in life. One is astouisn&i 
not to find a notable alteration in one's friend, even if he or or she 
have been only wedded a week. _ In the instance of Dr. and Mrs. 
lliccabocca the change was peculiarly visible. To speak first of the 
lady, as in chivalry bound Mrs. lliccabocca had entirely renounced 
that aielanchcly which had characterised Miss Jemi: z: "she became 



VaIUETIES IN ENGLISH LIVZ. IS? 

even sprightly and say, and looked all the better and prettier for ine 
alteration. She did not scruple to confess honestly to Mrs. Dale 
that she was now of opinion that the world was very far from ap- 
proaching its end. But, in the meanwhile, she did not neglect tne- 
duty which the belief she had abandoned serves to inculcate — " She 
set her house in order." The cold and penurious elegance that Lad 
characterised the Casino disappeared like enchantment — that is, the 
elegance remained, but the cold and penuryfled before the smile of 
woman. Like Puss-in-Boots, after the nuptials of his master, Jack- 
eymo only now caught minnows and sticklebacks for his own amuse- 
ment. Jackeymo looked much plumper, and so did Biccabocca. In 
a word, the fair Jemima became an excellent wife. Biccabocca 
secretly thought her extravagant, but like a wise man, declined to 
look at the house-bills, and ate his joint, in unreproacliful silence. 

Indeed, there was so much unsdl'octed kindness in the nature oi 
Mrs. Biccabocca — beneath the quiet of her manner there beat so 
genially the heart of the Hazeldeans — that she fairly justified the 
favourable anticipations of Mrs. Dale. And though the Doctor did 
not noisily boast of his felicity, nor, as some new-married folks do, 
thrust it insultingly under the nimi* unclis naribas — the tumed-up 
noses of your surly old married folks — nor force it gaudily and 
glaringly on the envious eyes of the single, you might still see that 
he was a more cheerful and light-hearted man than before. His 
smile was less ironical, his politeness less distant. He did not study 
Machiavelli so intensely — and he did not return to the spectacles ; 
which last was an excellent sign. Moreover, the humanising influence 
of the tidy English wife might be seen in the improvement of his 
outward or artificial man. His clothes seemed to fit him better; 
indeed the clothes were new. Mrs. Dale no longer remarked that 
the buttons were off the wristbands, which was a great satisfaction to 
her. But the sage still remained faithful to the pipe, the cloak, and 
the red silk umbrella. Mrs. Biccabocca had (to her credit be it 
spoken) used all becoming and wife-like arts against these three 
remnants of the old bachelor Adam but in vain. " Anima. r,da" 
(soul of mine), said the Doctor, tenderly; "1 hold the cloak, the 
umbrella, and the pipe, as the sole relics that remain to me oi' my 
native country. Bespect and spare them." 

Mrs. Biccabocca was touched, and had the good sense to perceive 
that man, let him be ever so much married, retains certain signs of his 
ancient independence — certain tokens of his old identity, which a 
wife, the most despotic, will do well to concede. She conceded the 
cloak, she submitted to the umbrella, she overcamo her abhorrence of 
the pipe. After all, considering the natural villany of our sex, she 
confessed to herself that she might have been worse off. But, 
through all the calm and cheerfulness of Biccabocca, a nervous 
perturbation was sufficiently perceptible ; — it commenced after the 
second \\e::k of marriage — it went on increasing, till one bright sunny 
afternoon, as he was standing on his terrace, gazing down upon the 
road, at which Jackeymo was placed — lo, a stage-coach stopped ! 
The Doctor made a bound, and put both hands to his heart as if he 
had been shot ; he then leapt over the balustrade, and hii wife from 



ifrs 111' hovel; on, 

her window beheld him flying down the hill, with his long hail 
streaming in the wind, till the trees hid him from her sight. 

"Ah," thought she, with a natural pang of conjugal jealousy, 
"henceforth I am only second in his home. He has gone to wel- 
come his child!" And at that reflection Mrs. Riccabocca shea 
tears. 

But so naturally amiable was she, that she hastened to curb her 
emotion, and efface as well as she could the trace of a step-mother's 
grief. When this was done, and a silent, self-rebuking prayer mur- 
mured oyer, the good woman descended the stairs with alacrity, and 
summoning up her best smiles, emerged on the terrace. 

She was repaid ; for scarcely had she come into the open air, when 
two little arms were thrown around her, and the sweetest voice that 
ever came from a child's lips, sighed out hi broken English, " Good 
mamma, love me a little." 

" Love you ? with my whole heart ! " cried the stepmother, with 
all a mother's honest passion. And she clasped the child to her 
breast. 

" God bless you, my wife ! " said Riccabocca, in a husky tone. 

" Please take this too," added Jackeymo, in Italian, as well as his 
sobs would let him — and he broke off a great bough full of blossoms 
from his favourite orange-tree, and thrust it into his mistress's hand. 
She had not the slightest notion what he meant by it ! 



CHAPTER III. 

Violante was indeed a bewitching child— a child to whom [ defy 
Mrs. Caudle herself (immortal Mrs. Caudle !) to have been a harsh 
stepmother. 

Look at her now, as, released from those kindly arms, she stands, 
still clinging with one hand to her new mamma, and holding out the 
other to Riccabocca, — with those large dark eyes swimming in happy 
tears. "What a lovely smile !— what an ingenuous, candid brow! 
She looks delicate — she evidently requires care— she wants the 
mother. And rare is the woman who would not love her the better 
for that ! Still, what an innocent, infantine bloom in those clear, 
smooth cheeks ! — and in that slight frame, what exquisite natural 
grace. ! 

"And this, I suppose, is your nurse, darling ? " said Mrs. Ricca- 
bocca, observing a dark, foreign-looking woman, dressed very 
strangely, without cap or bonnet, but a great silver arrow stuck 
in her hah, and a filagree chain or necklace resting upon her kerchief. 

" Ah, good Anetta," said Violante in Italian. " Papa, she says she 
is to go back ; but she is not to go back — is she ?" 

Riccabocca, who had scarcely before noticed the woman, started a* 
that question — exchanged a rapid glance with Jackeymo— and then, 
muttering some inaudible excuse, approached the nurse, and, beckon- 
ing her to follow him, went away into the. grounds He did uol 



\AIUETiiiS IX ENGLISH LIFE. IO'i 

return for more than an hour, nor did the woman then accompany 
him home. He said briefly to his wife that the nurse was obliged to 
return at once to Italy, and that she would stay in the village to 
catch the mail ; that indeed she would be of no use in t heir establish- 
ment, as she could not speak a word of English ; but that he was 
sadly afraid Violante would pine for her. And Violantc did pine at 
first. But still, to a child it is so great a thing to find a parent — to 
be at home — that, tender and grateful as Violante was, she could not 
bi inconsolable while her father was there to comfort. 

For the first few days, Kiccabocca scarcely permitted any one to be 
with his daughter but himself. He would not even leave her alone 
with his Jemima. They walked out together — sat together for hours 
in the Belvidere. Then by degrees he began to resign her more and 
more to Jemima's care and tuition, especially in English, of which 
language at present she spoke only a few sentences (previously, 
pchaps, learned by heart), so as to be clearly intelligible. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Theue was one person in the establishment of Dr. Riccabocca, 
who was satisfied neither with the marriage of his master nor the 
arrival of Violante — and that was our friend Lenny Fairfield. 
Previous to the all-absorbing duties of courtship, the young peasant 
had secured a very large share of Riccabocca's attention. The sage had 
felt interest in the growth of this rude intelligence struggling up to 
light. But what with the wooing, and what with the wedding, 
Lenny Fairfield had sunk very much, out of his artificial position as 
pupil, into his natural station of under-gardener. And on the arrival 
of Violante, he saw, with natural bitterness, that he was clean 
forgotten, not only by Riccabocca, but almost by Jackcymo. It was 
true that the master still lent him books, and the servant still gave 
him lectures on horticulture. But Riccabocca had no time nor 
inclination now to amuse himself with enlightening that tumult of 
conjecture which the books created. And if Jackcymo had been 
covetous of those mines of gold buried beneath the acres now fairly 
taken from the Squire (and good-naturedly added rent-free, as an aid 
to Jemima's dower), before the advent of the young lady whose 
future dowry the produce was to swell — now that she was actually 
under the eyes of the faithful servant, such a stimulus was given to 
his industry that he could think of nothing else but the land, and the 
revolution he designed to effect in its natural English crops. The 
garden, save only the orange-trees, was abandoned entirely to Lenny, 
and additional labourers were called in for the lield-work. Jackcymo 
had discovered that one part of the soil was suited to lavender, that, 
another would grow camomile. He bad in his heart apportioned a 
beautiful field of rich loam to flax ; but against the growth of flax the 
Squire set his face obstinately. That most lucrative, perhaps, of all 
crops, when soil and skill suit. w*"> I'orniallv Mii'mipted in England 



170 MY NOVEL ^ OR, 

much more commonly than it is now, since you will find few old 
leases which do not contain a clause prohibitory of flax, as an impo- 
verishment of the land. And though Jackeymo learnedly endeavoured 
to prove to the Squire that the flax itself contained particles which, 
if returned to the soil, repaid all that the crop took away, Mr. Hazei- 
dean had his old-fashioned prejudices on the matter," which were 
insuperable. _ "My forefathers," quoth he, "did not out thai 
clause in their leases without good cause ; and as the Casmo lands 
are entailed on Frank, I have no right to gratify your foreign whims 
at his expense." 

To make up for the loss of the flax, Jackeymo resolved to conver, 
a very nice bit of pasture into orchard ground, which he calculate -.: 
would bring in £10 net per acre by the time Miss Violante was mai - 
riageable. At this the Squire pished a little ; but as it was quite 
clear that the land would be all the more valuable hereafter for the 
fruit trees, he consented to permit the " grass-land" to be thus par- 
tially broken up. 

All these changes left poor Lenny Fairfield very much to himself — 
at a time when the new and strange devices which the initiation into 
book knowledge creates made it most desirable that he should have 
the constant guidance of a superior mind. 

One evening after his work, as Lenny was returning to Ids mother's 
cottage, very sullen and very moody, he suddenly camt in contact 
with Sprott the tinker. 



CHAPTER V. 

The 'Linker was seated under a hedge, hammering away at an old 
kettle— with a little fire burning in front of him — and the donkey hard 
by, indulging in a placid doze. Mr. Sprott looked up as Lenny 
passed — nodded kindly, and said — 

" Good evenin 5 , Lenny : glad to hear you be so 'spectably sitivatcd 
ivith Mounsccr." 

" Ay," answered Lenny, with a leaven of rancour in his recollec- 
tions, " you're not ashamed to speak to me now that I am not in dis- 
grace. But it was in disgrace, when it wasn't my fault, that the real 
gentleman was most kind to me." 

" Ar — r, Lenny," said the Tinker, with a prolonged rattle in that 
said Ar — r, which was not without great sigrnncanca, " But you sees 
the real gentleman, who han't got Ids bread to get, can hafford to 
'spise his cracter in the world. A poor tinker must be timbersome 
and nice in Ids 'sociations. But sit down here a bit, Lenny ; I've 
summut to say to ye ! " 

" To me—" 

" To ye. Give the neddy a shove out i' ihe vay, and sit down, 1 
say." 

Lenny rath°,r reluctantly, and somewhat superciliously, accepted 
this invitation. 



.-HUIil'IES IS ESCIJili LIFE. 171 

" 1 he&rs," said .the tinker in a voice made rather indistinct by a 
:,.xipie of nails which he had inserted between his teeth—" I hears as 
dow you be unkirnmon 1'oud of reading. I ha' sum nice cheap books 
in my bag yonder — sum as low as a penny." 

" I should like to see them," said Lenny, his eyes sparkling. 

The Tinker rose, opened one of the pliers on the ass's back, too*. 
jut a bag, which he placed before Lenny, and told hini to suit kimaeA. 
^he young peasant desired no bel.ter. lie spread all the contents o; 
.Ae bag on the sward, and a motly collection of food for the aiiud waa 
there — food and poison— serpen Us aci/jas—gwi and evil. Here Mil- 
ton's Paradise Lost, there The A;,;; of Reason — here Methodist Tracts. 
there True Principles of Socialism — Treatises on Ireful Kn .wledge 
by sound learning actuated by pure bencvuicuce— Appeals to I )pe- 
ratives by the shallowest reasoners, instigated by the same ambiiiri,; 
that had moved Eratosthenes to the conliagration of a temple ; work- 
of fiction admirable as Robinson Crusoe, or innocent as the Old Eng- 
lish Baron; besides coarse translations of such garbage as had rotted 
away the youth of France under Louis Quinze. Tina miscellany was 
an epitome, in sliort, of the mixed World of Books, of that vast, city 
of the Press, with its palaces and hovels, its aqueducts and sewers— 
which opens all alike to the naked eye and the curious mind of hiiu 
to whom you say, in the Tinker's careless phrase, " Suit yourself." 

But it is not the hrst impulse of a nature, healthful and still pure, 
to settle in the hovel and lose itself amidst the sewers ; and Lenny 
Fairfield turned innocently over the bad books, and selecting two or 
three of the best, brought them to the Tinker, and asked the price. 

" Why," said Mr. Sprott, putting on his spectacles, '' you has taken 
the werry dearest : them 'ere be much cheaper, and more hinte- 
restin'." 

" But I don't fancy them," answered Lenny ; " I don't understand 
what they are about, and this seems to tell one how the steam-engine 
is made, and has nice plates ; and this is Robinson Crusoe, which 
Parson Dale once said he would give me — I'd rather buy it out of my 
own money." 

"Well, please yourself," quoth the Tinker; "you sAA have the 
books for four bob, and you can pay me next month." 

"Pour bobs — four shillings ? it is a great sum," said Lenny ; " but 
I will lay by, as you are kind enough to trust me : good evening, Mr. 
Sprott." 

"Stay a bit," said the Tinker; "I'll just throw you these two 
little tracts into the bargain ; they be only a shilling a dozen, so 'tis 
but tuppence— and when you has read those, vy, you'll be a reglar 
customer." 

The Tinker tossed to Lenny i*Jos. 1 and z of Appeals to Operatives, 
and the peasant took them up gratefully. 

The young knowledge-seeker went his way across the green fields, 
and under the still autumn foliage of the hedgcrowa. lie looked 
first at one book, then at another ; he did not know on which to settle. 

The Tinker rose and made a fire with leaves, and fu-ze, and sticks, 
some dry and some green. 

Lt.iiiij has now opened Xo. i 01 tUe tracts: thev are the abort est 



172 Air novel; ok, 

tp read, and don't require so much effort of the niind as the explana 
tion of the steam-engine. 
The Tinker has set on his grimy glue-pot, and the glue simmers. 



CHAPTER VI. 

As ViolaLte became more familiar with her new home, and those 
around her became more familiar with Yiolante, she was remarke? 
for a certain stateliness of manner and bearing, which, had it been 
less evidently natural and inborn, would have seemed misplaced in 
the daughter of a forlorn exile, and would have been rare at so early 
an age among children of the loftiest pretensions. It was with the 
air of a little princess that she presented her tiny hand to a friendly 
pressure, or submitted her calm clear cheek to a presuming kiss. 
Yet withal she was so graceful, and her very stateliness was so pretty 
and captivating, that she was not the less loved for all her grand airs. 
And, indeed, she deserved to be loved; for though she was certainly 
prouder than Mr. Dale could approve of, her pride was devoid of 
egotism; and that is a pride by no means common. She had an 
intuitive forethought for others : you could see that she was capable 
of that grand woman-heroism, abnegation of self ; and though she 
was an original child, and often grave and musing, with a tinge of 
melancholy, sweet, but deep in her character, still she was not above 
the happy genial merriment of childhood, — only her silver laugh was 
more attuned, and her gestures more composed, than those of children 
habituated to many playfellows usually are. Mrs. Hazeldean liked 
her best when she was crave, and said " she would become a very 
sensible woman." Mrs. Dale liked her best when she was gay, and 
said " she was born to make many a heart ache ;" for which Mrs. 
Dale was properly reproved by the Parson. Mrs. Hazeldean gave 
her a little set of garden tools ; Mrs. Dale a picture-book and a beau- 
tiful doll. For a long time the book and the doll had the preference. 
But Mrs. Hazeldean having observed to Riccabocea that the poor 
child looked pale, aud ought to be a good deal in the open air, the 
wise father ingeniously pretended to Violante that Mrs. Piccabocca 
had taken a great fancy to the picture-book, and that he should be 
very glad to have the doll, upon winch Violante hastened to give 
them both away, and was never so happy as when mamma (as she 
called Mrs. Riccabocca) was admiring the picture-book, and llicca- 
bocca with austere gravity dandled the doll. Then Riccabocca 
assured her that she could be of great use to him in the garden ; and 
Yiolante instantly put into movement her spade, hoe, and wheel- 
barrow. 

This last occupation brought her into immediate contact with 
Mr. Leonard Fairfield; and that personage one morning, to his great 
horror, found Miss Yiolante had nearly exterminated a whole celery- 
bed, which she had ignorant ly conceived to be a crop of weeds. 

Lenny was extremely angry, lie snatched away the hoe, ana 



VARIETIES iN tNUMMl LIFE. .173 

I- 

said angriiy, " You must not do that, Miss ; I'll tell your papa if 
you—" 

Violante drew herself up, and never having been so spoken to 
before, at least since her arrival in England, there was something 
comic in the surprise of her large eyes, as well as something tragic 
in the dignity of her offended mien. " It is very naughty of you. 
Miss," continued Leonard in a milder tone, for he was both softened 
by the eyes and awed by the mien, " and I trust you will not do it 
again." 

" Non capisco," (I don't understand), murmured Violante, and the 
dark eyes filled with tears. At that moment up came Jackeymo : 
and Violante, pointing to Leonard, said, with an effort not to betray 
her emotion, " II fanciullo e molto grossolano," (he is a very rude 
boy). 

Jackeymo turned to Leonard with the look of an enraged tiger. 
"How you dare, scum of de earth that you are," cried he,* "how 
you dare make cry the signorina ? " And his English not supplying 
familiar vituperatives sufficiently, he poured out upon Lenny such a 
profusion of Italian abuse, that the boy turned red and white, in a 
breath, with rage and perplexity. 

Violante took instant compassion upon the victim she had made, 
and, with true feminine caprice, now began to scold Jackeymo for 
his anger, and, finally approaching Leonard, laid her hand on his 
arm, and said with a kindness at once cliildlike and queenly, and in 
the prettiest imaginable mixture of imperfect English and soft 
Italian, to which I cannot pretend to do justice, and shall therefore 
translate : " Don't mind him. I dare say it was all my fault, only 
I did not understand you •. are not these things weeds ? " _ 

"No, my darling signorina," said Jackeymo in Italian, looking 
ruefully at the celerv-bed, " they are not weeds, and they sell very 
well at this time of the year. But still, if it amuses you to pluck 
them up, I should like to see who's to prevent it." 

Lenny walked away. He had been called " the scum of the earth," 
by a foreigner too ! * He had again been ill-treated for doing what 
he conceived his duty. He was again feeling the distinction between 
rich and poor, and he now fancied that that distinction involved 
deadly warfare, for he had read from beginning to end those two 
damnable tracts which the Tinker had presented to him. But in the 
r lids t of all the angry disturbance of his mind, he felt the soft touch 
fif the infant's hand, the soothing influence of her conciliating words, 
and he was half ashamed that hehad spoken so roughly to a child. 

Still, not trusting himself to speak, he walked away, and sat down 
at a distance. "I don't see," thought he, "why there should be 
rich and poor, master and servant." Lenny, be it remembered, had 
not heard the Parson's Political Sermon. 

An hour after, having composed himself, Lenny returned to his 

* It need scarcely be observed, that Jackeymo, in his conversations with his 
master or Violante, or his conferences with himself, employs his native languag-e, 
which is therefore translated without the blunders that he is driven to commit 
when compelled to trv.st himself to the tongue of the country in which he is » 
•ojoarner. 



ii - hit HOVEL : C£, 

w>rk. Jf.ckeyrac rrr.i r.o longer in tiic garden: he had gone to tne 
folds; but Uiceabocca was standing by the celery-bed, and holding 
(he red silk umbrella over Yiolante as she sat on the ground looking 
up at her father with those eyes already so full of intelligence, and 
'ove, and soul. 

^ " Lenny," said Biccabocca, " my young lady has been telling me 
that she has been very naughty, and Giacomo very unjust to you. 
Forgive them both." 

Lmnv's sulleimess melted in an instant : the reminiscences of 
tracts Nos. 1 and 2, 

" Like the baseless fabric of a vision, 
Lett not a wreck behind. " 

He raised eyes, swimming with all his native goodness, towards 
the wise man, and dropped them gratefully on the infant peace- 
maker. Then he turned away his head and fairly wept. The parson 
was right : " ye poor, have charity for the rich ; ye rich, respect 
tlif Door." 



CHAPTER VII. 

Now from that- day the humble Lenny and the regal Violante 
became great friends. With what pride he taught her to distinguish 
between celery and weeds — and how proud too was she when she 
learned that she was useful ! There is not a greater pleasure you can 
give children, especially female children, than to make then feel they 
are already of value in the world, and serviceable as well as protected. 
Weeks and months rolled away, and Lenny still read, not only the 
books lent him by the Doctor, but those lie bought of Mr. Sprott. 
As for the bombs and shells against religion which the Tinker carried 
in his bag, Lenny was not induced to blow himself up with them. 
He had been reared from his cradle in simple love and reverence for 
the Divine Father, and the tender Saviour, whose life beyond al! 
records of human goodness, whose death beyond all epics of mortal 
heroism, no being whose itttancy has been taught to supplicate the 
Merciful and adore the Holy, yea, even though his later life may be 
entangled amidst the thorns of some desolate Pyrrhonism, can ever 
hear reviled and scored without a shock to the conscience and a 
revolt to the heart. As the deer recoils by instinct from the tiger, as 
the very look of the scorpion deters you from handling it, though you 
never saw a scorpion before, so the very first line in some ribald pro- 
fanity ^n which the Tinker put his black finger, made Lenny's blood 
rim cold. Safe, too, was the peasant boy from any temptation in 
works of a gross and licentious nature, not only because of the 
happy ignorance of his rural life, but because of a more enduring s?fe- 
guard — genius ! Genius, that, manly, robust, healthful as it be, ia 
long before it 'lose its instinctive Dorian modesty; shamefaced, 
because so susceptible to glory — genius, that loves indeed to dreamt 
out on the violet bank, not the dunghill, Wherefore, even ir> tl;2 



VARIETIES IB KSOL1SU LIFE. 175 

« 

error of the senses, it seeks to escape from the sensual into worlds of 
fancy, subtle and refined. But apart from the passions, true genius 
is the most practical of all human gifts. Like the Apollo whom the 
Greek worshipped as its type, even Arcady is its exile, not its home. 
Soon weary of the dalliance of Tcmpe, it ascends to its mission — the 
Archer of the silver bow, the guide of the car of light. Speaking 
more plainly, genius is the enthusiasm for self-improvement ; it ceases 
or sleeps the moment it desist from seeking some object which it 
believes of value, and by that object it insensibly connects its self- 
improvement with the positive advance of the world. At present 
Lenny's genius had no bias that was not to the Positive and Useful. 
It took the direction natural to its sphere, and the wants therein — 
viz., to the arts which we call mechanical. He wanted to know 
about steam-engines and Artesian wells ; and to know about them it 
was necessary to know something of mechanics and hydrostatics ; so 
he bought popular elementary works on those mystic sciences, and 
set all the powers of his mind at work on experiments. 

Noble and generous spirits are ye, who, with small care for fame, 
and little reward from pelf, have opened to the intellects of the poor 
the portals of wisdom ! I honour and revere ye ; only do not think 
ye have done all that is needful. Consider, I pray ye, whether so 
good a choice from the Tinker's bag would have been made by a boy 
whom religion had not scared from the Pestilent, and genius had not 
led to the self -improving. And Lenny did not wholly escape from 
the mephitic portions of the motley elements from which -his awaken- 
ing mind drew its nurture. Think not it was all pure oxygen that 
the panting lip drew in. No ; there were still those inflammatory 
tracts. Political I do not like to call them, for politics means the art 
of government, and the tracts I speak of assailed all government 
which mankind has hitherto recognised. Sad rubbish, perhaps, were 
such tracts to you, sound thinker, in your easy-chair ! Or to you 
practised statesman, at your post on the Treasury Bench — to you, 
calm dignitary of a learned Church — or to you, my lord judge, who may 
often have sent from your bar to the dire Orcus of Norfolk's Isle the 
ghosts of men whom that rubbish, falling simultaneously on the 
bumps of acquisitiveness and combativeness, hath untimely slain ! 
Sad rubbish to you ! But seems it such rubbish to the poor man, to 
whom it promises a paradise on the easy terms of upsetting a world ? 
For ye see, those "Appeals to Operatives" represent that same 
world-upsetting as the simplest thing imaginable — a sort of two-and- 
two-make-four proposition. The poor have only got to set their 
strong hands to the axle, and heave-a-hoy ! and hurrah for the topsy- 
turvy ! Then, just to put a little wholesome rage into the heave-a-hoy ! 
it is so facile to accompany the eloquence of " Appeals " with a kind 
of stir-the-bile-up statistics — " Abuses of the Aristocracy " — " Jobs 
of the Priesthood" — "Expenses of the Army kept up for Peers' 
younger sons " — " Wars contracted for the villanous purpose of rais- 
ing the rents of the landowners " — all arithmetically dished up, and 
seasoned with tales of every gentleman who has committed a misdeed, 
every clergyman who has dishonoured his cloth ; as if such instances 
were fair specimens of average gentlemen and ministers of reli?; r oa . ! 



176 MY novel, on, 

All this passionately advanced (and observe, never answered; for that 
literature admits no controversialists, and the writer has it all his 
own way), may be rubbish ; but it is out of such rubbish that 
operatives build barricades for attack, and legislators prisons for 
defence. 

Our poor friend Lenny drew plenty of this stuff from the Tinker's 
bag. He thought it very clever and very eloquent ; and he supposed 
the statistics were as true as mathematical demostrations. 

A famous knowledge-diffuser is looking over my shoulder, and tells 
me, " Increase education, and cheapen good books, and all this rubbish 
will disappear ! " Sir, I don't believe a word of it. If you printed 
Kicardo and Adam Smith at a farthing a volume, I still believe that 
they would be as little read by the operatives as they are now-a-days 
by a very large proportion of highly-cultivated men. I still believe 
that, while the press works, attacks on the rich, and propositions for 
heave-a-hoys, will always form a popular portion of the Literature of 
Labour. There's Lenny Fairfield reading a treatise on hydraulics, 
and constructing a model for a fountain into the bargain ; but that 
does not prevent his acquiescence in any proposition for getting rid 
of a National "Debt, which he certainly never agreed to pay, and 
which he is told makes sugar and tea so shamefully dear. No, I tell 
you what does a little counteract those eloquent incentives to break 
his own head against the strong walls of the Social System — it is, 
that he has Iwo eyes in that head, which are not always employed in 
reading. And, having been told in print that masters are tyrants, 
parsons hypocrites or drones in the hive, and landowners vampires 
and bloodsuckers, he looks out into the little world around him, and, 
first, lie is compelled to acknowledge that his master is not a tyrant 
(perhaps because he is a foreigner and a philosopher, and, for what I 
and Lenny know, a republican). But then Parson Dale, though 
High Churcli to the marrow, is neither hypocrite nor drone. He has 
a very good living, it is true — much better than he ought to have, 
according to the " political " opinions of those tracts ! but Lenny is 
obliged to confess that, if Parson Dale were a penny the poorer, he 
would do a pennyworth's less good ; and, comparing one parish with 
another, such as Rood Hall and Hazcldean, he is dimly aware that 
there is no greater civiliseii than a person tolerably well off. Then, 
too, Squire Hazcldean, though as arrant a Tory as ever stood upon 
shoe-leather, is certainly not a vampire nor bloodsucker. He does 
not feed on the public ; a great many of the public feed upon him : 
and, therefore, his practical experience a little staggers and perplexes 
Lenny Fairfield as to the gospel accuracy of his theoretical dogmas. 
Masters, parsons, and landowners ! having, at the risk of all popu- 
larity, just given a coupde patte to certain sages extremely the fashion 
at present, I am not going to let you off without an admonitory Ilea 
in 'the ear. Don't suppose that any mere scribbling and typework 
will suffice to answer the scribbling and typework set at work to 
demolish you — write _ down that rubbish you can't — live it down you 
may. If you are rich, like Squire Hazeldean, do good with your 
money ; if you are poor, like Signor Riccabocca, do good with your 
kindness 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 177 

See ! there is Lenny now receiving his week's wages ; and though 
Lenny knows that he can get higher wages in the very next parish, 
his blue eyes are sparkling with gratitude, not at the chink of the 
money, but at the poor exile's friendly talk on things apart from all 
service; while Violante is descending the steps from the terrace, 
charged by her mother-in-law with a little basket of sago, and such- 
like delicacies, for Mrs. Fairfield, who has been ailing the last few 
days. 

Lenny will see the tinker as he goes home, and he will buy a most 
Demosthenean " Appeal" — a tract of tracts, upon the Propriety of 
Strikes, and the Avarice of Masters. But, somenow or other, I think 
a few words from Siguor Biccabocca, that did not cost the Signor a 
farthing, and the sight of his mother's smile at the contents of the 
basket, which cost very little, will serve to neutralize the effects of 
that " Appeal," much more efficaciously than the best article a 
Brougham or a Mill could write on the subject. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Spring had come again; and one beautiful May-day, Leonard 
Fairfield sat beside the little fountain which he had now actually 
constructed in the garden. The butterflies were hovering over the 
belt of flowers which he had placed around his fountain, and the 
birds were singing overhead. Leonard .Fairfield was resting from his 
day's work, to enjoy his abstemious dinner, beside the cool play of 
the sparkling waters, and, with the yet keener appetite of knowledge, 
he devoured his book as he munched his crusts. 

A penny tract is the shoeing-horn of literature ! it draws on a great 
many books, and some too tight to be very useful in walking. The 
penny tract quotes a celebrated writer — you long to read him ; it 
props a startling assertion by a grave authority — you long to refer to 
it. During the nights of the past winter, Leonard's intelligence had 
made vast progress ! he had taught him self more than the elements 
of mechames, and put to practice the principles he had acquired, not 
only in the hydraulical achievement ot the fountain, nor in the still 
more notable application of science, commenced on the stream in 
which Jackevmo had fished for minnows, and which Lenny had 
diverted to the purpose of irrigating two fields, but in various in- 
genious contrivances for the facilitation or abridgment of labour, 
which had excited great wonder and praise in the neighbourhood. 
On the other hand, those rabid little tracts, which dealt so summarily 
with the destinies of the human race, even when his growing reason, 
and the perusal of works more classical or more logical, had led him 
to perceive that they were illiterate, and to suspect that they jumped 
from premises to conclusions with a ceieritv very different from the 
careful ratiocination of mechanical science, had still, in the citations 
and references wherewith they abounded, lured him on to philo- 
sophers more specious and more perilous. Out of the Tinker's. ha#; 

VOL. I. v 



178 MY K0VJ!»>, on, 

he had drawn a translation of Condorcet's Progress of Man, mid 
another of Rousseau's Social Covtract. "Works so eloquent had 
induced him to select from the tracts in the Tinker's .miscellany toose 
which abounded most in professions of philanthropy, and predictions 
of some coming Golden Age, to which old Saturn's was a joke- 
tracts so mild and mother-Eke in their language, that it required a 
much more practical experience than Lenny's to perceive that you 
would have to pass a river of blood before you nad the slightest 
chance of setting foot on the flowery banks on which they invited 
you to repose — tracts which rouged poor Christianity on the cheexs, 
clapped a crown of innocent daffodillies on her head, and set her to 
dancing a pas de zephyr in the pastoral ballet in which St. Simon 
pipes to the flock he shears ; or having first laid it down as a pre- 
liminary axiom that 

" The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself — 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve," 

substituted in place thereof Monsieur Fourier's symmetrical phalan- 
stere, or Mr. Owen's architectural parallelogram. It was with some 
such tract that Lenny was seasoning his crusts and his radishes, 
when Riccabocca, bending his long dark face over the student's 
shoulder, said abruptly — 

"Biavolo, my friend ! what on earth have you got there ! Just let 
iet me look at it, will you?" 

Leonard rose respectfully, and coloured deeply as he surrendered 
the tract to Riccabocca. 

The wise man read the first page attentively, the second more 
cursorily, and only ran his eye over the rest. He had gone through 
too vast a range of problems political, not to have passed over that 
venerable Pons Asinorum of Socialism, on which Fouriers and 
St. Simons sit straddling, and cry aloud that they have arrived at the 
last boundary of knowledge ! 

" All this is as old as the hills," quoth Riccabocca irreverently ; 
"but the hills stand still, and this— there it goes!" and the sage 
pointed to a cloud emitted from his pipe. " Did you ever read Sir 
David Brewster on Optical Delusions ? No ! Well, I'll lend it to 
you. You will find therein a story of a lady who always saw a black 
cat on her hearth-rug. The black cat existed only in her fancy, 
but the hallucination was natural and reasonable — eh — what do you 
think P" 

" Why, sir," said Leonard, not catching the Italian's meaning, 
don't exactly see that it was natural and reasonable." 

"Foolish boy, yes! because black cats are things possible and 
known. But who ever saw upon earth a community of men such as 
«it on the hearth-rugs of Messrs. Owen and Fourier ? If the lady's 
hallucination was not reasonable, what is his who believes in such 
visions as these ? " 

Leonard bit his lip. 

" My dear boy," cried Riccabocca kindly, " the only thing sure 
Kid tangible to which thes° writers would lead you, lies at the firsi 



VAIUETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 17ft 

step, and that is what is commonly called a Revolution. Now, 
I know what that is. I have gone, not indeed through a revolution, 
but an attempt at one." 

Leonard raised his eyes towards his master with a look of profound 
respect, and great curiosity. 

Yes," added Riccabocca, and the face on which the boy gazed 
exchanged its usual grotesque and sardonic expression for one 
animated, noble, and heroic. " Yes, not a revolution for chimeras, 
but for that cause which the coldest allow to be good, and which, 
when successful, all time approves as divine — the redemption of our 
native soil from the rule of the foreigner ! I have shared in such an 
attempt. And," continued the Italian mournfully, "recalling now 
all the evil passions it arouses, all the ties it dissolves, all the blood 
that it commands to flow, all the healthful industry it arrests, all the 
madmen that it arms, all the victims that it dupes, I question 
whether one man really honest, pure, and humane, who has once gone 
through such an ordeal, would ever hazard it again, unless he was 
assured that the victory was certain — ay, and the object for which he 
fights not to be wrested from his hands amidst the uproar of the 
elements that the battle has released." 

The Italian paused, shaded his brow with his hand, and remained 
long silent. Then, gradually resuming his ordinary tone, he con- 
tinued — 

"Revolutions that have no definite objects made clear by the 
positive experience of history ; revolutions, in a word, that aim less 
at substituting one law or one dynasty for another, than at changing 
the whole scheme of society, have been little attempted by real 
statesmen. Even Lycurgus is pioved to be a myth who never existed. 
Such organic changes are but m the day-dreams of philosophers who 
lived apart from the actual world, and whose opinions (though 
generally they were very benevolent, good sort of men, and wrote 
in an elegant poetical style) one would no more take on a plain 
matter of life, than one would look upon Virgil's Eclogues as a faithful 
picture of the ordinary pains and pleasures of the peasants who tend 
our sheep. Read them as you would read poets, and they are 
delightful. But attempt to shape the world according to the poetry, 
and fit yourself for a madhouse. The farther off the age is from the 
realisation of such projects, the more these poor philosophers have 
indulged them. Thus, it was amidst the. saddest corruption of court 
manners that it became the fashion in Paris to sit for one's picture : 
with a crook in one's hand, as Alexis or Daphne. Just as liberty was 
fast dying out of Greece, and the successors of Alexander were 
founding their monarchies, and Rome was growing up to crush in its 
iron grasp all states save its own, Plalo withdraws his eyes from the 
world, to open them in his dreamy Atlantis. Just in the grimmest 
period of English history, with the axe hanging over his head, Sir 
Thomas More gives you his Utopia. Just when the world is to be 
the theatre of a new Sesostris, the sages of France tell you that the 
age is too enlightened for war, that man is henceforth to be governed 
by pure reason, and live in a paradise. Very pretty reading all tliis 
to a man like me, Lennv, who can admire and smile at it. But to 



180 MY ?)CYEL; OR, 

you, to the man who has to work for his living, to the man who 
thinks it would be so much more pleasant to live at his ease in a 
phalanstere than to work eight or ten hours a-day ; to the man of 
talent, and action, and industry, whose future is invested in that 
tranquillity and order of a state in which talent, and action, and 
industry are a certain capital; — why, Messrs. Coutts, the great 
bankers, had better encourage a theory to upset the system of bank 
ing! Whatever disturbs society, yea, even by a causeless panic, 
much more by an actual struggle, falls first upon the market oi 
labour, and thence affects prejudicially every department of intelli- 
gence. In such times the arts are arrested ; literature is neglected ■ 
people are too busy to read anything save appeals to their passions. 
And. capital, shaken in its sense of security, no longer ventures 
boldly through the land, calling forth all the energies of toil and 
enterprise, and extending to every workman his reward. Now, 
Lenny, take this piece of advice. You are young, clever, and 
aspiring : men rarely succeed in changing the world ; but a man 
seldom fails of success if he lets the world alone, and resolves to 
make the best of it. You are in the midst of the great crisis of your 
life ; it is the struggle between the new desires knowledge excites, 
and that sense of poverty, which those desires convert either into 
hope and emulation, or into envy and despair. I grant that it is an 
up-hill work that lies before you ; but don't you think it is always 
easier to climb a mountain than it is to level it ? These books call on 
you to level the mountain ; and that mountain is the property of 
other people, subdivided amongst a great many proprietors, and 
protected oy law. At the first stroke of the pickaxe, it is ten to ore 
but what you are taken up for a trespass. But the path up the 
mountain is a right of way uncontested. You may be safe at the 
summit, before (even if the owners are fools enough to let you) you 
could have levelled a vard. Cospctto!" quoth the doctor, "it is 
more than two thousand years ago since poor Plato began to level it, 
and the mountain is as high as ever ! " 

Thus saving, Eiccabocca came to the end of his pipe, and stalking 
thoughtfully away, he left Leonard Fairfield trying to extract light 
from the smoke. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Shortly after this discourse of Eiccabocca' s, an incident occurred 
to Leonard that served to carry his mind into new directions. On'; 
evening, when his mother was out, he was at work on a new mecha- 
nical contrivance, and had the misfortune to break one of the instru- 
ments which he employed. Now, it will be remembered that his 
father had been the Squire's head carpenter : the widow had carefully 
hoarded the tools of his craft, which had belonged to her poor Mark ; 
and though she occasionally lent them to Leonard, she would not give 
them up to his service. Amongst these, .Leonard knew that he should 
lad the one that he wanted : and being much interested in his con- 



VA1!ieti=5 1^ ENGLISH lifz. 131 

Irivance, he could not wait till bis mother's return. The tools, with 
other little relics of the lost, were kept in a large trunk in Mrs. Fair- 
field's sleeping-room ; the trunk was not locked, and Leonard went to 
it without ceremony or scruple. In rummaging for the instrument, 
Ins eye fell upon a bundle of MSS. ; and he suddenly recollected thai, 
when he wa3 a mere child, and before he much knew the difference 
between verse and prose, Ins mother had pointed to these MSS., and 
said, " One day or other, when you can read, nicely, I'll let you look at 
these, Lenny. My poor Mark wrote such verses — ah, he teas a schol- 
lard ! " _ Leonard, reasonably enough, thought that the time had 
now arrived when he was worthy the privilege of reading the paternal 
effusions, and he took forth the MSS. with a keen but melancholy 
interest. He recognised his father's handwriting, which he had often 
seen before in account-books and memoranda, and read eagerly some 
trifling poems, which did not show much genius, nor much mastery of 
language and rhythm — such poems, in short, as a self-educated man, 
■nth poetic taste and feeling, rather than poetic inspiration or artistic 
culture, might compose with credit, but not for fame. But suddenly, 
as he turned over these " Occasional Pieces," Leonard came to others 
in a different handwriting — a woman's handwriting, — small, and fine, 
and exquisitely formed. He had scarcely read six lines of these last, 
before his attention was irresistibly chained. They were of a different 
order of merit from poor Mark's ; they bore the unmistakeaLle stamp 
of genius. Like the poetry of women in general, they were devoted 
to personal feeling ; they were not the mirror of a world, but reflec- 
tions of a solitary heart. Yet this is the kind of poetry most pleasing 
1 .0 the young. And the verses in question had another attraction for 
Leonard ; they seemed to express some struggle akin to his own- 
some complaint against the actual condition of the writer's life, — ■ 
some sweet, melodious murmurs at fortune. Lor the rest, they were 
characterised by a vein of sentiment so elevated, that if written by a 
man it would have run into exaggeration ; written by a woman, the 
romance was carried off by so many genuine revelations of sincere, 
deep, pathetic feeling, that it was always natural, though true to a 
nature for which you would not augur happiness. 

Leonard was still absorbed in the perusal of these poems, when 
Mrs. Fairfield entered the room. 

" What have you been about, Lenny ? — searching in my box ? " 

" I came to look for my father's bag of tools, mother, and I found 
these papers, which you said I might read some day." 

"I doesn't wonder you did not hear me when I came in," said the 
widow, sighing. " I used to sit still for the hour together, when my 
poor Mark read his poems to me. There was such a pretty one about 
the ' Peasant's Fireside,' Lenny ; have you got hold of that ? " 

" Yes, dear mother ; and I remarked the allusion to you ; it brought 
tears to my eyes. But these verses are not my father's, — whose are 
they ? They seem in a woman's handwriting." 

Mrs. Fairfield looked, — changed colour,— grew faint, — and seated 
lierself. 

" Poor, poor Nora ! " said she, falteringly. " I did not know as they 
ivere there ; Mark kep 'em ; they got among his " 



1%'i Mr ncjVEL; OK, 

Leonard. — Who was Nora ? 

Mrs. Fairfield. — Wlio ? — child— who ? Nora was — was asy own 
— own sister. 

Leonard (in great amaze, contrasting his ideal of the writer of 
these musical lines, in that graceful hand, with his homely, uneducated 
mother, who could neither read nor write). — Your sister! — is it pos- 
sible ? My aunt, then. How comes it you never spoke of her before ? 
Oh ! you shoidd be so proud of her, mother. 

Mrs. Fairfield (clasping her hands). — We were proud of her, all 
of us— father, mother — all ! She was so beautiful and so good, and 
not proud she ! though she looked like the first lady in the land. Oh ! 
Nora, Nora ! 

Leonard (after a pause).— But she must have been highly 
educated? 

Mrs. Fairfield. — 'Deed she was ! 

Leonard.— How was that ? 

Mrs. Fairfield (rocking herself to and fro in her chair). — Oh! 
my Lady was her godmother — Lady Lansmere-I mean, — and took a 
fancy to her when she was that high ! and had her to stay at the Park, 
and wait on her Ladyship ; and then she put her to school, and Nora 
was so clever, that nothing would do but she must go to London as a 
governess. But don't talk of it, boy ! — don't talk of it ! 

Leonard. — Why not, mother ? What has become of her ?— where 
is she ? 

Mrs. Fairfield (bursting into a paroxysm of tears). — [n her grave 
— in her cold grave ! Dead, dead ! 

Leonard was inexpressibly grieved and shocked. It is the attribute 
of the poet to seem always living, — always a friend. Leonard felt as 
if some one very dear had been suddenly torn from his heart. He 
tried to console his mother ; but her emotion was contagious, and he 
wept with her. 

" And how long has she been dead ? " he asked, at last, in mournful 
accents. 

" Many 's the long year— many ; but," added Mrs. Fairfield, rising, 
and putting her tremulous hand on Leonard's shoulder, " you'll just 
never talk to me about her, — I can't bear it, — it breaks my heart ; I 
can bear better to talk of Mark. Come down stairs — come." 

" May I not keep these verses, mother? Do let me." 

"Well, well, those bits o' paper be all she left behind her. Yes. 
keep them, but put back Mark's. Are they all here P — sure ? " And 
the widow, though she could not read her husband's verses, looked 
jealously at the MSS. written in his irregular large scrawl, and, 
smoothing them carefully, replaced them in the trunk, and resettled 
over them some sprigs of lavender, which Leonard had unwittingly 
disturbed. 

" But," said Leonard, as his eye again rested on the beautiful 
handwriting of his lost aunt — "but you call her Nora— I see she 
signs herself L." 

" Leonora was her name. I said she was my lady's godchild. We 
called her Nora for short " 

" Leonora — and I am Leonard— is that how I came by the name?" 



VASIETIES IN ENGLISH IZTZ. J&3 

•' Yes, yes— do hold your tongue, boy," sobbed poor iirs. Fairfield ; 
aad she could not be soothed nor coaxed into continuing or renewing 
a subject which was evidently associated with insupportable pain. 



CHAPTER X. 

It is difficult to exaggerate the effect that this discovery producec 
on Leonard's train of thought. Some one belonging to his owl 
humble race had, then, preceded him in Ins struggling llight towards 
the loftier regions of Intelligence and Desire. It was like ihe mariner 
amidst unknown seas, who finds carved upon some desert isle a 
familiar household name. And this creature of genius and of sorrow 
—whose existence he had only learned by her song, and whose death 
created, in the simple heart of her sister, so passionate a grief, after 
the lapse of so many years — supplied to the romance awaking in his 
young heart the ideal which it unconsciously sought. He was pleased 
to hear that she had been beautiful and good. He paused from his 
books to muse on her, and picture her image to his fancy. That 
there was some mystery in her fate was evident to him ; and while 
that conviction deepened his interest, the mystery itself, by degrees, 
took a charm which he was not anxious to dispel. He resigned him- 
self to Mrs. Fairfield's obstinate silence. He was contented to rank 
the dead amongst those holy and ineffable images which we do not 
seek to unveil. Youth and Fancy have many secret hoards of idea 
which they do not desire to impart, even to those most in their con- 
fidence. I doubt the depth of feeling in any man who has not certain 
recesses in his soul into which none may enter. 

Hitherto, as I have said, the talents of Leonard Fairfield had been 
more turned to things positive than to the ideal ; to science and in- 
vestigation of fact than to poetry, and that airier truth in which 
poetry has its element. He had read our greater poets, indeed, but 
without thought of imitating ; and rather from the general curiosity 
to inspect all celebrated monuments of the human mind, than from 
that especial predilection for verse which is too common in childhood 
and youth to be any sure sign of a poet. But now these melodies, 
unknown to all the world beside, rang in his ear, mingled with his 
thoughts— set, as it were, his whole life to music. He read poetry 
with a different sentiment— it seemed to him that he had discovered. 
its secret. \nd so reading, the passion seized him, and " the numbers 
came." 

To many minds, at the comment ement of our grave and earnest 
pilgrimage, I am Vandal enough to think that the indulgence of 
poetic taste and reverie does great nd lasting harm ; that it serves to 
enervate the chaiacter, give false iaeas of life, impart the semblance 
of drudgery to the noble toils and duties of the active man. Ad 
poetry would not do this — not, for instance, the Classic? I, in its 
diviner masters — not the poetry of Homer, of Virgil, of Sophocles — 
>"wt, pcvb&ps, even that of the indolent Horace. But the poetry 



I3i MY XOVEL; ok, 

which youth usually loves and appreciates the best — the poetry of 
were sentiment— does so in minds already over-predisposed to the 
sentimental, and which require bracing to grow into healthful 
manhood. 

On the other hand, even this latter kind of poetry, which is pecu- 
liarly modem, does suit many minds of another mould— minds which 
our modern life, with its hard positive forms, tends to produce. And 
as in certain climates plants and herbs, peculiarly adapted as antidotes 
to those diseases most prevalent in the atmosphere, are profusely 
sown, as it were, by the benignant providence of nature — so it may 
be that the softer and more romantic species of poetry, which comes 
forth in harsh, money-making, unromantic times, is intended as 
curatives and counter-poisons. The world is so much with us, now- 
a-days, that wc need have something that prates to us, albeit, even in 
too fine an euphuism, of the moon and stars. 

Certes, to Leonard Fairfield, at that period of his intellectual life, 
the softness of our Helicon descended as healing dews. In his 
turbulent and unsettled ambition, in his vague grapple with the giant 
forms of political truths, in his bias towards the application of science 
to immediate practical purposes, this lovely vision of the iluse came 
in the white robe of the Peacemaker ; and 'with upraised hand, pointing 
to serene skies, she opened to him fair glimpses of the Beautiful, 
which is given to Peasant as to Prince — showed to him that on the 
surface of earth there is something nobler than fortune — that lie who 
can view the world as a poet is always at soul a king ; while to prac- 
tical purpose itself, that larger and more profound invention, which 
poetry stimulates, supplied the grand design and the subtle view — 
leading him beyond trie mere ingenuity of the mechanic, and ha- 
bituating him to regard the inert force of the matter at his command 
with the ambition of the Discoverer. But, above all, the discontent 
that was within him finding a vent, not in deliberate war upon this 
actual world, but through the purifying channels of song — in the vent 
itself it evaporated, it was lost. By accustoming ourselves to survey 
all things witli the spirit that retains and reproduces them only hi 
their lovelier or grander aspects, a vast philosophy of toleration for 
what we before gazed on with scorn or hate insensibly grows upon us. 
Leonard looked into his heart after the Enchantress had breathed 
upon it ; and through the mists of the fleeting and tender melancholy 
wnich betrayed where she had been, he beheld a new sun of delight 
and joy dawning over the landscape of human life. 

Thus, though she was dead and gone from his actual knowledge, 
this mysterious kinswoman — " a voice, and nothing more" — had 
spoken to him, soothed, elevated, cheered, attuned eacn discord into 
harmony; and, if now permitted from some serener sphere to behold 
the life that her soul thus strangt !y influenced, verily with yet holier 
joy, the saving and lovely spirit might have glided onward hi the 
Eternal Progress. 

We call the large majority of human lives obscure. Presumptuous 
that we are ! How know we what lives a single thought retained 
from the dust of nameless graves may have lighted to renown ? 



VARIETIES IN EXRMSII LIF?. 185 



CHAPTER XI. 



Ji was aoout a year after Leonard's discovery of the family MSS. 
that Parson Dale borrowed the quietest pad mare in the Squire's 
stables, and set out on an equestrian excursion. He said that he was 
bound on business connected with his old parishioners of Lansmere ; 
for, as it has been incidentally implied in a previous chapter, lie had 
been connected with that borough town (and, 1 may here add, in the 
capacity of curate) before he had been inducted into the living of 
Hazeldean. 

It was so rarely that the Parson stirred from home, that this 
journey to a town more than twenty miles off was regarded as a most 
daring adventure, both at the Hall and at the Parsonage. Mrs. Dale 
could not sleep the whole previous night with thinking of it ; and 
though she had naturally one of her worst nervous headaches on the 
eventful morn, she yet suffered no hands less thoughtful than her own 
to pack up the saddlebags which the Parson had borrowed along with 
the pad. Nay, so distrustful was she of the possibility of the good 
man's exerting the slightest common sense in her absence, that she 
kept him close at her side while she was engaged in that same ope- 
ration of packing up — showing him the exact spot in which the clean 
shirt was put, and how nicely the old slippers were packed up in one 
of his own sermons. She implored him not to mistake the sandwiches 
for his shaving-soap, and made him observe how carefully she had 
provided against such confusion, by placing them as far apart from 
each other as the nature of saddle-bags will admit. The poor Parson 
— who was really by no means an absent man, but as little likely to 
shave himself with sandwiches and lunch upon soap as the most 
common-place mortal may be — listened with conjugal patience, and 
thought that man never had such a wife before ; nor was it without 
tears in his own eyes that he tore himself from the farewell embrace 
of his weeping Carry. 

I confess, however, that it was with some apprehension that he see 
bis foot_ in the stirrup, and trusted his person to the mercies of an 
unfamiliar animal. Tor, whatever might be Mr. Dale's minor ac- 
complishments as man and parson, horsemanship > was not his forte; 
indeed, I doubt if he had taken the reins in his hand more than 
twice since he had been married. 

The Squire's surly old groom. Mat, was in attendance with the 
pad ; and, to the Parson's gentle inquiry whether Mat was quite sure 
that the pad was quite safe, replied laconically, " Oi, oi, give her her 
head." 

"Give her her head!" repeated Mr. Dale, rather amazed, for he 
had not the slightest intention of taking away that part of the beast's 
frame so essential to its vital economy — " Give her her head ! " 

" Oi, oi ; and don't jerk her up like that, or she'll fall a doincing 
on her hind-legs." 

The Parson instantly slackened the reins ; and Mrs. Dale — who 



loo MY XOV"L; CTi, 

had tarried behind to control her tears— now running to ths door foi 
" more last words," he waved his hand with courageous amenity, and 
ambled forth into the lane. 

Our equestrian was absorbed at first in studying the idiosyncrasies 
of the pad-mare, and trying thereby to arrive at some notion of her 
general character : guessing, for instance, why she raised one ear and 
laid down the other ; why she kept bearing so close to the left that 
she brushed his leg against the hedge ; and why, when she arrived at 
a little side-gate in the Holds, which led towards the home-farm, she 
came to a full stop, and fell to rubbing her nose against the rail — an 
occupation from which the Parson, finding all civil remonstrances 
in vain, at length diverted her by a timorous application of the 
whip. 

This crisis on the road fairly passed, the pad seemed to comprehend 
that she had a journey before her, and giving a petulant whisk of her 
tail, quickened her amble into a short trot, which soon brought the 
Parson into the high-road, and nearly opposite the Casino. 

Here, sitting on the gate which led to iris abode, and shaded by his 
umbrella, he beheld Dr. Riccabocca. 

The Italian lifted his eyes from the book he was reading, and 
stared hard at the Parson ; and he — not venturing to withdraw his 
whole attention from the pad (who, indeed, set up both her ears at 
the apparition of Riccabocca, and evinced symptoms of that surprise 
and superstitious repugnance at unknown objects, which goes by the 
name of " shying")— looked askance at Riccabocca. 

" Don't stir, please," sa ; d flic Parson, "or I fear you'll alarm this 
creature; it seems a nervous, timid tiling; — soho— gently — gently." 

And he fell to patting the mare with great unction. 

The pad, thus encouraged, overcame her first natural astonishment 
r.t the sight of Riccabocca and the red umbrella ; and having before 
been at the Casino on sundry occasions, and sagaciously preferring 
places within the range of her experience to bournes neither cognate 
nor coniccturable, she moved gravely up towards the gate on which 
the Italian sat ; and, after eyeing him a moment— as much as to 
sav, " 1 wish you would get off,"— came to a dead lock. 

"Well," said Riccabocca, "since your horse seems more disposed 
to be polite to me than yourself, Mr. Dale, I take the opportunity of 
your present involuntary pause to congratulate you on your elevation 
in life, and to breathe a friendly prayer that pride may not have a 
fall!" 

" Tut," said the Parson, affecting an easy air, though still contem- 
plating the pad, who appeared to have fallen into a quiet doze, " it is 
true that I have not ridden much of late years, and the Squire's 
horses are very high-fed and spirited; but there is no more harm in 
them than their master when one once knows their ways." 

" Chi va piano, va sano, 
E chi va sano va lontano." 

said Biccabocca, pointing to the saddle-bags. "You go slowly, 
therefore safely; and he who goes safely may to far. You seem pre. 
pared for a journey 8 " 



varieties in ErflLien l:js. 187 

"lam," said the Parson; "and on a matter that concerns you a 
little." 

"Me!" exclaimed Riccabocca — "concerns me!" 

"Yes, so far as the chance of depriving you of a servant whom you 
like and esteem affects you." 

"Oh," said Riccabocca, " I understand : you have hinted to me 
very often that I, or knowledge, or both together, have unfitted 
Leonard Fairfield for service." 

" I did not say that exactly ; I said that you have fitted him for some- 
thing higher than service. But do not repeat this to him. And 1 
cannot yet say more to you, for I am very doubtful as to the success 
of my mission ; and it will not do to unsettle poor Leonard until -a e 
are sure that we can improve his condition." 

" Of that you can never be sure," quoth the wise man, shaking his 
head ; " and I can't say that I am unselfish enough not to bear you a 
grudge for seeking to decoy away from me an invaluable servant- 
faithful, steady, intelligent, and" added Riccabocca, wanning as he 
approached the climacteric adjective " exceedingly cheap ! neverthe- 
less — go, and Heaven speed you. I am not an Alexander, to stand 
between man and the sun." 

" You are a noble, great-hearted creature, Signor Riccabocca, in 
spite of your cold-blooded proverbs and villanous books." The 
Parson, as he said this, brought down the whip-hand with so indis- 
creet an enthusiasm on the pad's shoulder, that the poor beast, 
startled out of her innocent dczc, mado a holt forward, which nearly 
precipitated Riccabocca from his seat on tne sine, n^l +hen turning 
round — as the Parson tugged desperately at the rein — caugnr tne 'cjt, 
between her teeth, and set off at a canter. The Parson lost both his 
stirrups ; and when he regained them (as the pad slackened her pace), 
and had time to breathe and look about him, Riccabocca and the 
Casino were both out of sight. 

" Certainly," quoth Parson Dale, as he resettled himself with great 
complacency, and a conscious triumph that he was still on the pad's 
back—" Certainly it is true ' that the noblest conquest ever made by 
man was that of the horse :' a fine creature it is — a very fine creature 
—and uncommonly difficult to sit on, especially without stirrups." 
Firmly in his stirrups the Parson planted his feet ; and the heart 
within him was very proud. 



CHAPTER XII. 

The borough town of Lansmere was situated in the county adjoin 
tng that which contained the village of Hazeldean. Late at nuon the 
Parson crossed the little stream which divided the two shires, and 
came to an inn, which was placed at an angle where the great main 
road branched off into two directions — the one leading towards Lans- 
mere, the other going more direct to London. At this inn the pad 
stopped, and put down both ears with the air of a pad who has madf 



1SS MY >"OVEL; OK, 

up her mind to bait. And the Parson himself, feeling very warm and 
somewhat sore, said to the pad benignly, " It is just— thou shalt have 
corn and water ! " 

Dismounting, therefore, and finding himself very stiff, as soon as he 
reached terra firma, the Parson consigned the pad to the ostler, and 
walked into the sanded parlour of the inn, to repose himself on a very 
hard Windsor chair. 

He had been alone rather more than half an hour, reading a county 
newspaper which smelt much of tobacco, and trying to keep off the 
flies that gathered round him in swarms, as if they had never before 
seen a Parson, and were anxious to ascertain how the flesh of him 
tasted,— when a stage-coach stopped at the inn. A traveller got out 
with his carpet-bag in his hand, and was shown into the sanded 
parlour. 

The Parson rose politely, and made a bow. 

The traveller touched his hat, without taking it off — looked at Mr. 
Dale from top to toe— then walked to the window, and whistled a 
lively impatient tune, then strode towards the fire-place and rang the 
bell ; then stared again at the Parson ; and that gentleman having 
courteously laid down the newspaper, the traveller seized it, threw 
himself into a chair, flung one of his legs over the table, tossed the 
other up on the mantelpiece, and began reading the paper, while he 
tilted the chair on its hind legs with so daring a disregard to the 
ordinary position of chairs and their occupants, that the shuddering 
Parson expected every moment to see him come down on the back of 
his skull. 

Moved, therefore, to compassion, Mr. Dale said mildly — 

"Those chairs are very treacherous, sir. Pm afraid you'll be 
down." 

"Eh!" said the traveller, looking up much astonished — "Eh! 
down ? — oh, you're satirical, sir." 

" Satirical, sir ? upon my word, no ! " exclaimed the Parson ear- 
nestly. 

" 1 think every free-born man has a right to sit as he pleases in his 
own house," resumed the traveller with warmth ; "and an inn is his 
own house, I guess, so long as he pays his score. Betty, my dear." 

For the chambermaid had now replied to the bell. 

" I han't Betty, sir, do you want she ? " 

" No, Sally— cold brandy-and-water — and a biscuit." 

" I han't Sally, either," uttered the chambermaid ; but the 
traveller, turning round, showed so smart a neckcloth and so comely 
a face, that she smiled, coloured, and went her way. 

The traveller now rose, and flung down the paper. He took out a 
penknife, and began paring his nails. Suddenly desisting from this 
elegant occupation, his eye caught sight of the parson's shovel-hat, 
which lay on a chair in the corner. 

" You're a clergyman, I reckon, sir," said the traveller, with a 
slight sneer. 

Again Mr. Dale bowed— bowed m part deprecatmgly— in part with 
dignity. It was a bow that said, " No offence, sir, but lam a clergy- 
man, and I'm not ashamed of it." 



VARIETIES IS ENGLISH LIFE. 189 

" Going far ? " asked the travsilei 

Parson. — Not very. 

Traveller.— In a chaise or fly ? If so, and we are going the same 
way — halves. 

Parson. — Halves P 

Traveller. — Yes, I'll pay half the damage — pikes inclusive. 

Parson. — You are very good, Sir. But [spoken with pride] I am 
on horseback. 

Traveller.— On horseback! Well, I should not have guessed 
that ! You don't look like it. Where did you say you were going ? 

" I did not say where I was gomg, sir," said the Parson drily, for 
he was much offended at that vague and ungrammatical remark 
applicable to his horsemanship, that " he did not look like it." 

" Close ! " said the traveller laughing ; " an old traveller, I reckon." 

The Parson made no reply, but he took up his shovel-hat, and, with 
a bow more majestic than the previous one, walked out to see if his 
pad had finished her corn. 

The animal had indeed finished all the corn afforded to her, which 
was not much, and in a few minutes more Mr. Dale resumed his 
journey. He had performed about three miles, when the sound of 
wheels behind him made him turn his head, and he perceived a chaise 
driven very fast, while out of the windows thereof dangled strangely 
a pair of human legs. The pad began to curvet as the post-horses 
rattled behind, and the Parson had only an indistinct vision of a human 
face supplanting those human legs. The traveller peered out at him 
as he whirled by — saw Mr. Dale tossed up and down on the saddle, 
and cried out, "How's the leather?" 

" Leather ! " soliloquised the Parson, as the pad recomposed herself. 
" What does he mean by that ? Leather ! a very vulgar man. But I 
got rid of him cleverly." 

Mr. Dale arrived without farther adventure at Lansmere. He put 
up at the principal inn — refreshed himself by a general ablution — and 
sat down with good appetite to his beefsteak and pint of port. 

The Parson was a better judge of the physiognomy of man than 
that of the horse ; and after a satisfactory glance at the civil smirking 
landlord, who removed the cover and set on the wine, he ventured on 
an attempt at conversation. " Is my lord at the Park ?" 

Landlord (still more civilly than before). — No, sir: his lordship 
and my lady have gone to town to meet Lord L'Estrange. :3 

" Lord L'Estrange ! He is in England, then ?" 

" Why, so I heard," replied the landlord ; " but we never see him 
here now. I remember him a very pretty young man. Every one 
was fond of him and proud of him. But what pranks he did play 
when he was a lad ! We hoped he would come in for our boro' some 
of these days, but he has taken to foren parts — more's the pity. I 
am a reg'lar Blue, sir, as I ought to be. The Blue candidate always 
does me the honour to come to the Lansmere Arms. 'Tis only the 
low party puts up with the Boar," added the landlord with a look of 
ineffable disgust. " I hotie you like the wine, sir?" 

" Very good, and seems old." 

" Bottled these eighteen years, sir. I had in J .he cask for the greai 



,90 JIT NOVEL; OS, 

election of Dashmore and Egerton. I have little left of it, and I 
never give it but to old friends like — for, I think, sir, though you be 
grown stout, and look more grand, I may say that I've had the plea- 
sure of seeing you before." 

" That's true, I dare say, though I fear I was never a very good 
customer." 

" Ah, it is Mr. Dale, then ! I thought so when you came into the 
hall. I hope your lady is quite well, and the Squire, too ; fine plea- 
sant-spoken gentleman ; no fault of his if Mr. Egerton went wrong. 
Well, we have never seen him — I mean Mr. Egerton — since that 
time. I don't wonder he stays away ; but my lord's son, who was 
brought up here, it an't nat'ral like that he should turn his back 
on us!" 

Mr. Dale made no reply, and the landlord was about to retire, when 
the Parson, pouring out another glass of port, said — "There must be 
eroat changes in the parish. Is Mr. Morgan, the medical man, still 
here?" 

" No, indeed; he took out his ploma after you left, and became a 
real doctor ; and a pretty practice he had too, when he took, all of a 
sudden, to some new-fangled way of physicking ; — I think they calls 
it homy — something." 

"Homoeopathy?" 

" That's it — something against all reason : and sohe lost his practice 
here and went up to Lunnun. I've not heard of him since." 

" Do the Avenels still reside in their old house ?" 

" Oh yes ! — and are pretty well off, I hear say. John is always 
poorly ; though he still goes now and then to the Odd Fellows, and 
takes his glass ; but his wife comes and fetches him away before he 
can do himself any harm." 

" Mrs. Avenel is the same as ever ?" 

" She holds her head higher, I think," said the landlord, smiling. 
" She was always — not exactly proud like, but what I calls gump- 
tious." 

" I never heard that word before," said the Parson, laying down his 
knife and fork. " Bumptious, indeed, though I believe it is not in 
the dictionary, has crept into familiar parlance, especially amongst 
young folks at school and college." 

" Bumptious is bumptious, and gumptious is gumptious," said the 
landlord, delighted to puzzle a parson. " Now, the town beadle is 
bumptious, and Mrs. Avenel is gumptious." 

" She is a very respectable woman," said Mr. Dale, somewhat 
reDukin-^ly. 

" It „ourse, sir ; all gumptious folks are ; they value themselves on 
their respectability, and looks down on their neighbours." 

Paeson (still philologically occupied). — Gumptious — gumptious 
I think I remember the substantive at school — not that my master 
taught it to me. " Gumption," — it means cleverness. 

Landlord (doggedly).— There's gumption and gumptious! Gump- 
tion is knowing ; trat when I say that sum un is gumptious, I mean — 
though that's more vulgar like — sum un who does not think saml! 
ttw f€ HiwwJf You take me, sir?" 



V^EIETLES IN ENGLISH LI1T. 191 

" I think I do," said the Parson, half-smiling " I believe tiie 
Avenels have only two of their children alive still— their daughter, 
who mamed Mark Fairfield, and a son who went to America';"' 

" Ah, but he made his fortune there, and has come back." 

" Indeed ! I'm very glad to hear it. He has settled at Laus- 
mere?" 

"No, sir. I hear as he's bought a property a long way oft'. Bui 
he comes to see his parents pretty often — so John tells me — but ] 
can't say that I ever see him. I fancy Dick doesn't like to be seen by 
folks who remember him playing in the kennel." 

" Not unnatural," said the Parson, indulgently ; " but he visits his 
parents ; he is a good son at all events, then ? " 

'" I've nothing to say against him. Dick was a wild chap before he 
took himself off. I never thought he would make his fortune ; but the 
Avenels are a clever set. Do you remember poor Nora — the Rose of 
Lansmere, as they called her ? Ah, no, I think she went up to 
Lunnun afore your time, sir." 

" Humph ! " said the Parson drily. " Well, I think you may take 
away now. It will be dark soon, and I'll just stroll out and look 
about me." 

" There's a nice tart coming, sir." 

"Thank you, I've dined." 

The Parson put on his hat and sallied forth into the streets. He 
eyed the houses on either hand with that melancholy and wistful 
interest with which, in middle life, men revisit scenes familiar to them 
in youth — surprised to find either so little change or so much, _ and 
recalling, by fits and snatches, old associations and past emotions. 
The long High Street which he threaded now began to change its 
bustling character, and slide, as it were gradually, into the high-road 
of a suburb. On the left, the houses gave way to the moss-grown 
pales of Lansmere Park : to the right, though nouses still remained, 
they were separated from each other by gardens, and took the 
pleasing appearance of villas — such villas as retired tradesmen or 
their widows, old maids, and half -pay officers, select for the evening of 
their days. 

Mr. Dale looked at these villas with the deliberate attention of a 
man awakening his power of memory, and at last stopped before one, 
almost the last on the road, and which faced the broad patch of 
sward that lay before the lodge of Lansmere Park. An old pollard 
oak stood near it, and from the oak there came a low discordant 
sound ; it was the hungry cry of young ravens, awaiting; the belated 
return of the parent bird. Mr. Dale put his hand to his brow, 
paused a moment, and then, with a hurried step, passed through the 
little garden, and knocked at the door. A light was burning in the 
parlour, and Mr. Dale's eye caught through the window a vague 
outline of three forms. There was an evident bustle within at the 
sound of the knock. One of the forms rose and disappeared. A very 
prim, neat, middle-aged maid-servant now appeared at the threshold, 
and austerely inquired the visitor's business. 

" I want to see Mr. or Mrs. Avenel. Say that I have come many 
miles to see them ; and take in this card." 



193 MY NOVEL; OK, 

The maid-senant took the card, and half closed the door. At least 
three minutes elapsed before she reappeared. 

" Missis says it's late, sir ; but wait in " 

The Parson accepted the not very gracious invitat.on, stepped 
across the little hall, and entered the little parlour. 

Old John Avenel, a mild-looking man, who seemed slightly paralytic, 
rase slowly from his arm-chair. Mrs. Avenel, in an awfully stiff, clean, 
Calvinistical cap, and a grey dress, every fold of which bespoke 
respectability and staid repute — stood erect on the floor, and fixing 
on the Parson a cold and cautious eye, said — 

" You do the like of us great honour, Mr. Dale — take a chair ! You 
call upon business ?" 

" Of which I apprised Mr. Avenel, by letter/'' 

" My husband is very poorly." 

" A poor creature ! " said John, feebly, and as if in compassion of 
himself " I can't get about as I use"d to do. But it ben't near 
election time, be it, sir ?" 

"No, John," said Mrs. Avenel, placing her husband's arm 
within ter own. " You must lie down a bit, while I talk to the 
gentleman." 

"Fin a real good Blue," said poor John; "but I ain't quite the 
man I was ; " and leaning heavily on his wife, he left the room, turning 
round at the threshold, and saying, with great urbanity— " Anything 
to oblige, sir!" 

Mr. Dale was much touched. He had remembered John Avenel 
the comeliest, the most active, and the most cheerful man in Lans- 
mere ; great at glee-club and cricket (though then somewhat stricken 
in \ ears), greater in vestries ; reputed greatest in elections. 

" Last scene of all," murmured the Parson ; " and oh well, turning 
from the poet, may v.e cry with the disbelieving philosopher, 'Poor, 
poor humanity!'"* . 

In a lew minutes Mrs. Avenel returned. She took a chair at some 
distance from the Parson's, and, resting one hand on the elbow of the 
chair, while with the other she stiffly smoothed the stiff gown, she 
said — 

" Now, sir." , , . . . , , ... 

That " Now, sir," had in its sound something sinister and warlike. 
This the shrewd Parson recognised with his usual tact. He edged his 
chair nearer to Mrs. Avenel, and placing his hand on hers— 

" Yes, now then, and as friend to friend." 

* Mr. Dale probably here alludes to Lore! Bolingbroke's ejaculation as he 
stood by the dying Pope; but his memory Ices not serve him w'-th the exvt 
word*. 



VAiUETIES JN 33VGH.I8H U« 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Mb. Dale had been more than a quarter of an hutir conversE:^ 
with Mrs. Avenel, and had seemingly made little progress in the 
object of his diplomatic mission, for now, slowly drawing on hi.» 
gloves, he said— 

"I grieve to think, Mrs. Avenel, that you should have so hardened 
your heart — yes — you must pardon me — it is my vocation to speak 
stern truths. You cannot say that I have not kept faith with you, 
but I must now invite you to remember that I specially reserved 
to myself the right of exercising a discretion to act as I judged 
best, for the child's interests, on any future occasion ; and it was 
upon this understanding that you gave me the promise, which 
you would now evade, of providing for him when he came into 
manhood." 

" I say I will provide for him. I say that you may 'prentice him 
in any distant town, and by-and-by we will stock a shop for him. 
What would you have more, sir, from folks like us, who have kept 
shop ourselves ? It ain't reasonable what you ask, sir." 

"My dear friend," said the Parson, "what I ask of you at present 
is but to see him — to receive him kindly — to listen to his conversation 
— to judge for yourselves. We can have but a common object — that 
your grandson should succeed in life, and do you credit. Now, I 
doubt very much whether we can effect this by making him a small 
shopkeeper." 

"And has Jane Pah-field, who married a common carpenter, 
brought him up to despise small shopkeepers?" exclaimed Mrs. 
Avenel, angrily. 

" Heaven forbid ! Some of the first men in England have been the 
sons of small shopkeepers. But is it a crime hi them, or in their 
parents, if their talents have lifted them into such rank or renown 
as the haughtiest duke might envy ? England were not England if a 
man must rest where his father began." 

" Good ! " said, or rather grunted, an approving voice, but neither 
Mrs. Avenel nor the Parson heard it. 

" All very fine," said Mrs. Avenel, bluntly. " But to send a boy 
hke that to the university — where's the money to come from ?" 

" My dear Mrs. Avenel," said the Parson, coaxingly, "the cost need 
not be great at a small college at Cambridge ; and if you will pay half 
the expense, I will pay the other half. I have no children of my own, 
and can afford it." 

" That's very handsome in you, sir," said Mrs. Avenel, somewhat 
touched, yet still not graciously. " But the money is not the only 
point." 

"Once at Cambridge," continued Mr. Dale, speaking rapidly, "at 

Cambridge, where the studies are mathematical — that is, of a nature 

for which lie has shown so great an aptitude — and I have no douh* 

he will distinguish himself ; if he does, he will obtain, on imvivf, 

VQI.. 1. o 



*&* MY NOVEL; OK. 

iat is called a fehowsnip — tnat is, a collegiate dignity accompanied 
Vf an income on which he could maintain himself until he made his 
way in life. Come, Mrs. Avenei, you are well off ; you have no rela- 
tions nearer to you hi want of your aid. Your son, I hear, has been 
very fortunate." 

' Sir," said Mrs. Avenei, interrupting the Parson, "it is not 
because my son Richard is an honour to us, and is a good son, and 
has made his fortin, that we are to rob him of what we have to leave, 
and give it, to a boy whom we know nothing about, and who, in spite 
of what vou sav, can't bring upon us any credit at all." 
" Why ? I don't see that." 

"Why!" exclaimed Mrs. Avenei, fiercely — "why! you know 
why. No, I don't want him to rise in life : I don't want folks to be 
speiring and asking about him. I think it is a very wicked tiling to 
have put tine notions in his head, and I am sure my daughter Fair- 
field could not have done it herself. And now, to ask me to rob 
Richard, and bring out a great boy — who's been a gardener or plough- 
man, or such like — to disgrace a gentleman who keeps his carriage, 
as in y son Richard does — 1 would have you to know, sir. — No! I 
won't do it, and there's an end of the mutter." 

During the last two or three minutes, and just before that 
approving "good " had responded to the Parson's popular sentiment, 
a door communicating with an inner room had been gently opened, 
and stood ajar ; but this incident neither party had even noticed. 
Rut now the door was thrown boldly open, and the traveller whom 
the Parson had met at the inn walked up to Mr. Dale, and said. 
"No ! that's not the end of the matter. You say the boy's a 'cute, 
clever lad ? " 
" Richard, have you been listening ? " exclaimed Mrs. Avenei. 
"Well, I guess, yes — the last few minutes." 
"And what have you heard?" 

"Win, that this reverend gentleman thinks so highly of my sister 

Fairfield's bov, that he offers to pay half of his keep at college. Sir, 

I'm very much obliged to you, and there's my hand, if you'll take it." 

The Parson jumped up, overjoyed, and with a triumphant glance 

towards Mrs. Avenei, shook hands heartily with Mr. Richard. 

"Now," said the latter, "just put on your hat, sir, and take a stroll 
with me, and we'll discuss the thing business-like. Women don't 
understand business : never talk to women on business." 

With these words, Mr. Richard drew out a cigar-case, selected a 
cigar, which he applied to the candle, and walked into the hall. 

Mrs. Avenei caught hold of the Parson. " Sir, you'll be on your 
guard with Richard. Remember your promise." 
" He does not know all, then ? " 

" He ? No ! And you see he did not overhear more than what he 

says. I'm sure you're a gentleman, and won't go against your word." 

" " Mv word was conditional ; hut I will promise you never to break 

the silence without more reason than I think there is here for it. 

Indeed Mr. Richard Avenei seems to save all necessity for that." 

Are you coming, sir?" cried Richard, as he opened the street. 



VAIOXTIUS IK ENGLISH U?g„ _aa 



CHAPTER XTV. 



The Parson joined Mr. Richard Avenel on the road. It was a fine 

night, and the moon clear and shining. 

"■' So, then," said Mr. Richard, thoughtfully, " poor Jane, who was 
always the drudge of the family, has contrived to bring up her son 
well; and the boy is really what you say, eh ? — could make a figure 
at college ? " 

" I am sure of it," said the Parson, hooking himself on to the arm 
which Mr. Avenel proffered. 

" I should like to see him," said Richard. " Has he any manner ? 
Is he genteel ? or a mere country lout ? " 

" Indeed, he speaks with so much propriety, and has so much 
modest dignity about him, that there's many a rich gentleman who 
would be proud of such a son." 

"It is odd," observed Richard, "what difference there is in fami- 
lies. There's Jaue, now — who can't read nor write, and was just fit 
to be a workman's wife — had not a thought above her station ; and 
when I think of my poor sister Nora — you would not believe it, sir, 
but she was the most elegant creature in the world — yes, even as a 
child (she was but a child when I went off to America). And often, 
as I was getting on in life, often I used to say to myself, ' My little 
Nora shall be a lady after all.' Poor thing — but she died young." 

Richard's voice grew husky. 

The Parson kindly pressed the arm on which he leaned, and said, 
after a pause — 

" Nothing refines us like education, sir. I believe your sister Nora 
had received much instruction, and had the talents to profit by it : it 
is the same with your nephew." 

"I'll see him," said Richard, stamping his foot firmly on the 
ground, " and if I like him, I'll be as good as a father to him. Look 
you, Mr. — what's your name, sir ? " 

" Dale." 

" Mr. Dale, look you, I'm a single man. Perhaps I may marry 
some day; perhaps I shan't. I'm not going to throw myself away. 
If I can get a lady of quality, why — but that's neither here nor there; 
meanwhile I should be glad of a nephew whom 1 need not be 
ashamed of. You see, sir, I am a new man, the builder of my own 
fortunes ; and though I have picked up a little education — I don't 
well know how — as I scrambled on, still, now I come back to the 
old country, I'm well aware that I am not exactly a match for those 
d — d aristocrats ; don't show so well in a drawing-room as I could 
wish. I could be a Parliament man if I liked, but I might make a 
goose of myseif; so, all things considered, if I can get a sort of 
junior partner to do the polite work, and show off the goods, I think 
the house of Avenel and Co. might become a pretty considerable 
honour to tie Britishers. You understand me, sir ? " 

o2 



'OP MY Ii'OVEL; uK, 

Oh, very 'well, answered Mr. Dale, smiling, though rather 
gravely. 

"Now," continued the New Man, "I'm not ashamed to have 
risen in life by my own merits ; and I don't disguise what I've been. 
And, when I'm in my own grand house, I'm fond of saying, ' I landed 
at New York with £10 in my purse, and here I am ! ' But it would 
not do to have the old folks with me. People take you with all your 
faults if you're rich; but they won't swallow your family into the 
bargain. " So if I don't have at my house my own father and mother, 
whom I love dear.y, and should like to see sitting at table, with my 
servants behind their chairs, I could still less have sister Jane. I 
recollect her very well, and she can't have got genteeier as she's 
grown older. Therefore I beg you'll not set her on coming after me ; 
it would not do by any manner of means. Don't say a word about 
me to her. But send the boy down here to his grandfather, and I'll 
see him quietly, you understand." 

" Yes, Dut it will be hard to separate her from the boy." 
" Stuff ! all boys are separated from their parents when they go into 
the world. So that's settled. Now, just fell me. I know the old 
folks always snubbed Jane — that is, mother did. My poor dear 
father never snubbed any of us. Perhaps mother has not behaved 
altogether well to Jane. But we must not blame her for that; you 
see this is how it happened. There were a good many of us, while 
father and mother kept shop in the High Street, so we were all to 
be provided for anyhow ; and Jane, being very useful and handy at 
work, got a place when she was a little girl, and had no time for 
learning. Afterwards my father made a lucky hit, in getting my 
Lord Lansmere's custom after an election, in which he did a great 
deal for the Blues (for which he was a famous electioneerer, my poor 
lather). My Lady stood godmother to Nora; and then all my 
brothers, and two of my sisters, died off, and father retired from 
business ; and when he took Jane from service, she was so common- 
like that mother could not help contrasting her with Nora. You see 
Jane was their child when they were poor little shop people, with 
their heads scarce above water; and Nora was their child when they 
were well off, and had retired from trade, and lived genteel : so that 
makes a great difference. And mother did not quite look on her as 
on her own child. But it was Jane's own fault : for mother would 
have made it up with her if she had married the son of our neighbour 
the great linendraper, as she might have done ; but she would take 
Mark Fairfield, a common carpenter. Parents like best those of 
their children who succeed best in life. Natural. Why, they did 
not care for me till I came back the man I am. But to return to 
Jane : I'm afraid they've neglected her. How is she off ? " 
" She earns her livelihood, and is poor, but contented." 
" Ah, just be good enough to give her this," (and Richard took a 
bank-note of £50 from his pocket-book). " You can say the old folks 
gent it to her; or that it is a present from Dick, without telling her 
he has come back from America." 

" My dear sir," said the Parson, " I am more and more thankful. 
to Lave made your acquaintance. This is a very liberal gift of yours ,- 



VAK1ET1£S IX ENGLISH LI?E. 19? 

hut your best plan will be to send it through, your mother, lor, 
though I don't want to betray any confidence you place in me, I 
should not know what to answer if Mrs. Fairfield began to question 
me about her brother. I never had but one secret to keep, and 1 
hope I shall never have another. A secret is very like a tie ! " 

"You had a secret then!" said Richard, as he took back the 
bank-note. He had learned, perhaps in America, to be a very inqui- 
sitive man. He added point-blank, " Pray, what was it ? " 

" Why what it would not be if I told you," said the Parson, with 
a forced laugh — " a secret ! " 

" Well, I guess we're in a land of liberty. Do as you like. Now, 
I dare say you think mc a very odd fellow to come out of my shell 
to you in this off-hand way. Put I liked the look of you, even when 
we were at the inn together. And just now I was uncommonly 
pleased to find that, though you are a Parson, you don't want to keep 
a man's nose down to a shop-board, if he has anything in him. You're 
not one of the aristocrats — " 

" Indeed," said the Parson, with hnprudent warmth, " it is not the 
character of the aristocracy of this country to keep people down. 
They make way amongst themselves for any man, whatever his birth, 
who has the talent and energy to aspire to their level. That's the 
especial boast of the Pritish constitution, sir ! " 

" Oh, you think so, do you ! " said Mr. Richard, looking sourly at 
the Parson. " I dare say those are the opinions hi which you have 
brought up the lad. Just keep lmn yourself, and let the aristocracy 
provide for him ! " 

The Parson's generous and patriotic warmth evaporated at once, 
at this sudden inlet of cold air into the conversation. He perceived 
that he had made a terrible blunder ; and, as it was not his business 
at that moment to vindicate the British constitution, but to serve 
Leonard Fairfield, he abandoned the cause of the aristocracy with 
the most poltroon and scandalous abruptness. Catching at the arm 
which Mr. Avenel had withdrawn from Mm, he exclaimed — 

" Indeed, sir, you are mistaken ; I have never attempted to influ- 
ence your nephew's political opinions. On the contrary, if, at his 
age, he can be said to have formed any opinions, I am greatly afraid 
—that is, I think his opinions are by no means sound — that is, con- 
stitutional. I mean, I mean — " And the poor Parson, anxious to 
select a word that would not offend his listener, stopped short hi 
lamentable confusion of idea. 

Mr. Avenel enjoyed his distress for a moment, with a saturnine 
smile, and then said — 

" Well, I calculate he's a Radical. Natural enough, if he has not 
got a sixpence to lose— all come right by and by. I'm not a Radical 
— at least not a Destructive — much too clever a man for that, I hope. 
Put I wish to see things very different from what they are. Don't 
fancy that I want the common people, who've got nothing, to pretend 
to dictate to their betters, because I hate to see a parcel of fellows, 
who are called lords and squires, trying to rule the roast. I think, sir. 
ihat it is men like me who ought to be at the top of the tree ! ant* 
that's the long and the short of it. What do you say ? " 



19S KEY NOVEL; OR, 

" I've not the least objection," said the crestfallen Parson basely. 
But, to do him justice, I must add, that he did not the least know 
what he was saying ! 



CHAPTER XV- 

"Uxcoxscious of the change in his fate which the diplomacy of the 
P;irson sought to effect, Leonard Fairfield was enjoying the first 
virgin sweetness of fame ; for the principal town in his neighbourhood 
hail followed the then growing fashion of the age, and set up a 
Mechanics'' Institute ; and some worthy persons interested in the 
formation of that provincial Athenaeum 'ha<' offered a prize for the 
best Essay on the Diffusion of Knowledge, — a very trite subject, on 
which persons seem to think they can never say too much, and on 
which there is, nevertheless, a great deal yet to be said. This prize 
Leonard Fairfield had recently won. His Essay had been publicly 
complimented by a full meeting of the Institute ; it had been printed 
at the expense of the Society, and had been rewarded by a silver 
medal — delineative of Apollo crowning Merit (poor Merit had not a 
rag to his back ; but Merit, left only to the care of Apollo, never is 
too good a customer to the tailor !) And the " County Gazette " had 
declared that Britain had produced another prodigy in the person of 
Dr. Riccabocca's self-educated gardener. 

Attention was now directed to Leonard's mechanical contrivances. 
The Squire, ever eagcrlv bent on improvements, had brought an 
engineer to inspect the lad's system of irrigation, and the engineer had 
been great ly struck by the simple means by which a very considerable 
technical ditliculty had been overcome. The neighbouring farmers 
now called Leonard "Mr. Fairfield," and invited him, on equal terms, 
to their houses. Mr. Stirn had met him on the high road, touched 
his hat, and hoped that " lis bore no malice/' All this, I say, was the 
first sweetness of fame; and if Leonard Fairfield comes to be a great 
man, he will never find such sweets in the after-fruit. It was this 
success winch had determined the Parson on the step which he had 
just taken, and which lie had long before anxiously meditated. For, 
during the last year or so, he had renewed his old intimacy with the 
widow and the boy ; and he had noticed, with great hope and great 
fear, the rapid growth of an intellect, which now stood out from the 
lcwly circumstances that surrounded it in bold and unharmonising 
relief. 

It wa3the evening after his return home that the Parson strolled up 
to the Casino. He put Leonard Fairfield's Prize Essay in his pocket. 
For he felt that he could not let the young man go forth into the 
world without a preparatory lecture, and he intended to scourge poor 
Merit with the very laurel wreath which it had received from Apollo. 
But in this he wanted Riccabocca's assistance ; or rather he feared 
that, if he did not get the Philosopher on his side, the philosopher 
might undo all the work of the Parson, 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH U5B. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



A sweet sound came through the prange boughs, and floated to 
the ears of the Parson, as he wound slowly up the gentle ascent — so 
sweet, so silvery, he paused in delight — unaware, wretched man! 
that he was thereby conniving at Papistical errors. Soft it came and 
sweet; softer and sweeter — "Ave Maria!" Yiolante was chanting 
the evening hymn to the Virgin Mother. The Parson at last distin- 
guished the sense of the words, and shook his head with the pious 
shake of an orthodox Protestant. He broke from the spell reso- 
lutely, and walked on with a sturdy step. Gaining the terrace, he 
found the little family seated under an awning. Mrs. Riccabocca 
knitting ; the Signor with his arms folded on his breast : the book he 
had been reading a few moments before had fallen on the ground, and 
his dark eyes were soft and dreamy. Violante had finished her hymn, 
and seated herself on the ground between the two, pillowing her 
head on her step-mother's lap, but with her hand resting on her 
father's knee, and her gaze fixed fondly on his face. 

" Good evening," said Mr. Dale. Violante stole up to him, and, 
pulling him so as to bring his ear nearer to her lip, whispered, — "Talk 
to papa, do — and cheerfully ; he is sad." 

She escaped from him as she said this, and appeared to busy her- 
self with watering the flowers arranged on stands round the awning. 
But she kept her swimming, lustrous eyes wistfully on her father. 

" How fares it with you, my dear friend ? " said the Parson, kindly, 
as he rested his hand on the Italian's shoulder. " You must not let 
him get out of spirits, Mrs. Riccabocca." 

"I am very ungrateful to her if I ever am so," said the poor 
Italian, with all his natural gallantry. Many a good wife, who thinks, 
it is a reproach to her if her husband is ever " out of spirits," might 
have turned peevishly from that speech, more elegant than sincere, 
and so have made bad worse. But Mrs. Riccabocca took her hus- 
band's proffered hand p.ffectionately, and said with great naivete — 

" You see I am so stupid, Mr. Dale ; I never knew I was so stupid 
till I married. But I am very glad you are come. You can get on 
some learned subject together, and then he will not miss so much 
his—" 

" His what ?" asked Riccabocca, inquisitively. 

"His country. Do you think that I cannot sometimes read your 
thoughts?" 

" Very often. But you did not read them just then. The tongue 
touches where the tooth aches, but the best dentist cannot guess at 
the tooth unless one opens one's muuth. — Basia ! Can we offer you 
some wine of our own making, Mr. Dale ? — it is pure." 

" I'd rather have some tea," quoth the Parson, hastily. 

Mrs. Riccabocca, too pleased to be in her natural element of 
domestic use, hurried into the house to prepare our national beverage. 
And the Parson, sliding: into iier chair, said— 



JIT NOVn^-, vb, 

" Bui you are dejected, then ? Pie ! If there's a virtue in the 
vorid at which we should always aim, it is cheerfulness." 

"1 don't dispute it," said Kiccabocca, with a heavy sigh. "But 
though it is said by some Greek, who, I think, is quoted by your 
favourite Seneca, that a wise man carries his country with him at the 
soles of his feet, he can't carry also the sunshine over his head." 

"I tell you what it is," said the Parson, bluntly, " you would have 
a much keener sense of happiness if you had much 'less esteem ib>' 
philosophy." 

" Cospetto ! " said the Doctor, rousing liimself. " Just explain, wL 
you?" 

" Does not the search after wisdom induce desires not satisfied in 
this small circle to which your life is confined 'i It is not so much 
your country for which you yearn, as it is for space to your intellect, 
employment for your thoughts, career for your aspirations." 

_' You have guessed at the tooth which aches," said Biccabocca 
with admiration. 

"Easy to do that," answered the Parson. " Our wisdom teeth 
come last, and give us the most pain. And if you would just starve 
the mind a liltle, and nourish the heart more, you would be less of a 

philosopher, and more of a ." The Parson had the word 

" Christian " at the tip of his tongue : he suppressed a word that, so 
spoken, would have been exceedingly irritating, and substituted, with 
inelegant antithesis, " and more of a happy man ! " 

" I do all I can with my heart," quoth the Doctor. 

" Not you ! Eor a man with such a heart as yours should never 
feel the want of the sunshine. My friend, we live in an age of over- 
mental cultivation. We neglect too much the simple, healthful outer 
life, in which there is so much positive joy. In turning to the world 
within us, we grow blind to this beautiful world without : in study- 
ing ourselves as men, we almost forget to look up to heaven, and 
warm to the smile of God." 

The philosopher mechanically shrugged his shoulders, as he always 
did when another man moralized — especially if the moralizer were a 
priest ; but there was no irony in his smile, as he answered, 
thoughtfully — 

" There is some truth in what you say. 1 own that we live too much 
as if we were all brain. Knowledge has its penalties and pains, as 
well as its prizes." 

" That is just what I want you to say to Leonard." 

" How have you settled the object of your journey P" 

" I will tell you as we walk down to him after tea. At present, 1 
am rather too much occupied with you." 

" Me ? The tree is formed— try only to bend the young twig ! " 

" Trees are trees, and twigs twigs," said the Parson, dogmati- 
cally ; " but man is always growing till he falls into the grave. I 
think I have heard you say that you once had a narrow escape of a 
prison r 

" Very narrow." 

" Just suppose that you were now in that prison, and that a fairy 
conjured vp the prospect of this quiet home in a safe land ; that you 



VAKIETIE3 IN ENCH.ISH LITE. 20i 

saw the orai;ge-trees in flower, felt the evening breeze on your cheek, 
beheld your child gay or sad, as you smiled or knit your 'brow ; that 
within this phantom home was a woman, not, indeed, all your young: 
romance might have dreamed of, but faithful and true, every beat of 
her heart all your own — would you not cry from the depth of the 
dungeon, ' fairy ! such a change were a paradise.' Ungrateful 
man ! you want interchange for your mind, and your heart should 
Buffice for all!" 

Riecabocca was touched and silent. 

" Come hither, my child," said Mr. Dale, turning round to Violante, 
who still stood among the flowers, out of hearing, but with watchful 
eyes. " Come hither," he said opening his arms. 

Violante bounded forward, and nestled to the good man's heart. 

" Tell me, Violante, when you. are alone in the fields or the garden, 
and have left your father looking pleased and serene, so that you 
have no care for him at your heart, — tell me, Violante, though you 
are all alone, with the flowers below, and the birds singing overhead, 
do you feel that life itself is happiness or sorrow ?" 

" Happiness !" answered Violante, half shutting her eyes, and in a 
measured voice. 

" Can you explain what kind of happiness it is ?" 

" Oh no, impossible ! and it is never the same. Sometimes it is so 
still — so still, and sometimes so joyous, that I long for wings to fly 
up to God, and thank him !" 

" friend," said the Parson, " this is the true sympathy between 
life and nature, and thus we should feel ever, did we take more care 
to preserve the health and innocence of a child. We are told that 
we must become as children to enter into the kingdom of heaven ; 
methinks we should also become as children to know what delight 
there is in our heritage of earth ! " 



CHAPTER XVII. 

The ms.id-servant (for Jackeymo was in the fields) brought Ine 
(able under the awning, and with the English luxury of tea, there 
were other drinks as cheap and as grateful on summer evenings — 
drinks which Jackeymo had retained and taught from the customs of 
1 he south — unebriate liquors, pressed from cooling fruits, sweetened 
with honey, and dehciously iced : ice should cost nothing in a country 
in which one is frozen up half the year ! And Jackeymo, too, had 
added to our good, solid, heavy English bread, preparations of wheat 
much lighter, and more propitious to digestion — with those crisp 
yrissins, which seemed to enjoy being eaten, they make so pleasant a 
noise between one's teeth. 

The Parson esteemed it a little treat to drink tea with the Ricca- 
boecas. There was something of elegance and grace, in that homely 
meal at the poor exile's table, which pleased the eye as well as taste. 
And the very utensils plain Wedgewood though they were, had a 



2C2 MY NOVEL; OK, 

classical simplicity, which made Mrs. Hazeldean's old India delf, ana 
Mrs. Dale's best Worcester china, look tawdry and barbarous in 
comparison. For it was Flaxnian who gave designs to Wedgewood, 
and the most truly refined of all our manufactures in porcelain (if 
we do not look to the mere material) is in the reach of the most 
thrifty. 

The little banquet was at first rather a silent one ; but Riccabocca 
threw off his gloom, and became gay and animated. Then poor 
Mrs. Riccabocca smiled, and pressed the grissins ; and Violante, for- 
getting all her stateliness, laughed and played tricks on the Parson, 
stealing away his cup of warm tea when his head was turned, and 
substituting iced cherry juice. Then the Parson got up and ran 
after Violante, making angry faces, and Violante dodged beautifully, 
till the Parson, fairly tired out, was too glad to cry " Peace," and 
come back to the cherry juice. Thus time rolled on, till they heard 
afar the stroke of the distant church clock, and Mr. Dale started up 
and cried, " But we shall be too late for Leonard. Come, naughty 
little girl, get your father his hat." 

"And umbrella!" said Riccabocca, looking up at the cloudless 
moonlit sky. 

" Umbrella against the stars ? " asked the Parson, laughing. 

" The stars are no friends of mine," said Riccabocca, " and one 
never knows what may happen ! " 

The Philosopher and the Parson walked on amicably. 

" You have done me good," said Riccabocca, " but I hope I am 
not always so unreasonably melancholic as you seem to suspect. The 
evenings will sometimes appear long and dull too, to a man whose 
thoughts in the past are almost his sole companions." 

" Sole companions ? — your child ? " 

" She is so young." 

"Your wife?" 

" She is so ," the bland Italian appeared to check some dis- 
paraging adjective, and mildly added, "so good, I allow; but you 
must own that she and I cannot have much in common." 

" I own nothing of the sort. You have your house and your 
interests, your happiness and your lives, in common. We men are so 
exacting, we expect to find ideal nymphs and goddesses when we 
condescend to marry a mortal ; and if we did, our chickens would be 
boiled to rags, and our mutton come up as cold as a stone." 

"PerBacco, you are an oracle," said Riccabocca, laughing. * But 
I am not so sceptical as you are. I honour the fair sex too much. 
There are a great many women who realize the ideal of men to be 
found in— the poets ! " 

" There's my dear Mrs. Dale, resumed the Parson, not heeding 
this sarcastic compliment to the sex, but sinking his voice into a 
whisper, and looking round cautiously — " There's my dear Mrs. Dale, 
the best woman in the world— an angel, I would say, if the word was 
not profane ; but " 

" What's the but?" asked the Doctor, demurely. 

" But I too might say that ' she and I have not much in common/ 
if I were only to compare mind to mind, and when my poor Carry 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 203 

lays something less profound than Madame de Stael might have said, 
smile on her in contempt from the elevation of logic and Latin, let 
when I rememher all the little sorrows and joys that we have shared 
together, and feel how solitary I should have been without her —oh, 
then, I am instantly aware that there is between us in common some- 
thing infinitely closer and better than if the same course of study had 
given us the same equality of ideas : and I was forced to brace myseif 
for a combat of intellect, as I am when I fall in with a tiresome sage 
like yourself. I don't pretend to say that Mrs. Riccabocca is a Mrs. 
Dale," added the Parson, with lofty candour — " there is but one 
Mrs. Dale in the world ; but still, you have drawn a prize in the wheel 
matrimonial ! Think of Socrates, and yet he was content even with 
his— Xantippe ! " 

Dr. Riccabocca called to mind Mrs. Dale's " little tempers," and. 
inly rejoicc-d that no second Mrs. Dale had existed to fall to his own 
lot. His placid Jemima gained by the contrast. Nevertheless, he 
had the ill grace to reply, " Socrates was a man beyond all imitation ! 
—Yet I believe that even he spent very few of his eveaings at home. 
But revenons a nos moutons, we are nearly at Mrs. Fairfield's cottage, 
and you have not yet told me what you have settled as to Leonard." 

The Parson halted, took Riccabocca by the button, and informed 
him, in very few words, that Leonard was to go to Lansmere to see 
some relations there, who had the fortune, if they had the will, to give 
full career to his abilities. 

" The great thing, in Ihe meanwhile," said the Parson, "would be 
to enlighten him a little as to what he calls — enlightenment." 
_ " Ah ! " said Riccabocca, diverted, and rubbing his hands, " I shall 
listen with interest to what you say on that subject." 
_ " And must aid me : for the first step in this modern march of en- 
lightenment is to leave the poor Parson behind ; and if one calls out 
' Hold ! and look at the sign-post,' the traveller hurries on the faster, 
saying to himself, ' Pooh, pooh ! — that is only the cry of the Parson ! ' 
But my gentleman, when ne doubts me, will listen to you — you're a 
philosopher ! " 

" We philosophers are of some use now and then, even to Parsons ! " 

" If you were not so conceited a set of deluded poor creatures 
already, I would say 'Yes,'" replied the Parson generously, and, 
taking hold of Riccabocca's umbrella, he applied the brass handle 
thereof, by way of a knocker, to the cottage-door. 



CHAPTER XVni. 

Certainly it is a glorious fever that desire To Know ! And there 
are few sights in the moral world more sublime than that which many 
a garret might afford, if Asmodeus would bare the roofs tc our survey 
— viz., a brave, patient, earnest human being toiling his own arduous 
way, athwart the iron walls of penury, into the magnificent Infinite, 
which is luminous with starry souls. 



2:-i MT NOVEL; OR, 

So there sits Leonard the Self-taught in the little cottage alone : 
for, though scarcely past the hour in which great folks dine, it is the 
hour in which small folks go to bed, and Mrs. rail-field has retired to 
rest, wliilc Leonard has settled to his books. 

He had placed his tabic under the lattice, and from time to time he 
looked up and enjoyed the stillness of the moon. Well for him that, 
in reparation for those hours stolen from night, the hardy physical 
labour commenced with dawn. Students would not be the sad 
■dyspeptics they are, if they worked as many hours in the open air as 
my scholar-peasant. But even in hhn you could see that the mind 
nad begun a little to alfect the frame. They who task the intellect 
must pay the penalty with the body. Ill, believe me, would this 
work-day world get on if all within it were hard-reading, studious 
animals, playing the deuce with the ganglionic apparatus. 

Leonard started as he heard the knock at the door ; the Parson's 
well-known voice reassured him. In some surprise he admitted his 
visitors. 

" We are come to talk to you, Leonard," said Mr. Dale, '"' but I 
fear we shall disturb Mrs. Fail-field." 

"Oh no, sir! the door to the staircase is shut, and she sleeps 
soundly." 

" "Why, tliis is a French book — do you read French, Leonard?" 
asked Biccabocca. 

" I have not found French difficult, sir. Once over the grammar, 
and the language is so clear ; it seems tlrb very language for reason- 
ing. 

" True, Voltaire said justly, ' Whatever is obscure is not French,' " 
observed Riccabocca. 

" I wish I could say the same of English," muttered the Parson. 

" But what is this ?— Latin too ?— Virgil ?" 

" Yes, sir. But I find I make little way there without a master. 
I fear I must give it up" (and Leonard sighed). 

The two gentlemen exchanged looks and seated themselves. The 
young peasant remained standing modestly, and in his air and mien 
There was something that touched the heart while it pleased the eye. 
He was no longer the timid boy who had shrunk from the frown of 
Mr. Stirn, nor that rude personation of simple physical strength, 
roused to undisciplined bravery, which had received its downfall on 
the village green of Hazeldean. The power of thought was on his 
brow — somewhat unquiet still, but mild and earnest. The features 
had attained that refinement which is often attributed to race, but 
comes, in truth, from elegance of idea, whether caught from our 
parents or learned from books. In bis rich brown hair, thrown care- 
lessly from his temples, and curling almost to the shoulders — in his 
large blue eye, which was deepened to the hue of the violet by the 
long dark lash — in that firmness of lip, which comes from the grapple 
with difficulties, there was considerable beauty, but no longer the 
beauty of the mere peasant. And yet there was still about the whole 
countenance that expression of goodness and purity which a painto 
would give to his ideal of the peasant lover — such as Tasso would 



VARIETIES TN ENGLISH LIFE. 205- 

have placed in the Aminta, or Fletcher have admitted to the side of 
the Faithful Shepherdess. 

" You must draw a chair here, and sit down between us. Leonard," 
said the Parson. 

" If any one," said Riccabocca, " has a right to sit, it is the one 
who is to hear the sermon ; and it any one ought to stand, it is the 
one who is about to preach it." 

" Don't be frightened, Leonard," said the Parson graciously • " it 
is only a criticism, not a sermon ;" and he pulled out Leonard's Prize 
Essay. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Parson. — You take for your motto this aphorism* — "Knowledge 
i* Power" — Bacon. 

Riccabocca. — Bacon make such an aphorism! The last man in 
the world to have said anything so pert and so shallow. 

Leonard (astonished). — Do you mean to say, sir-, that that apho- 
rism is not in Lord Bacon ? Why, I have seen it quoted as his in 
almost every newspaper, and in almost every speech in favour of 
popular education. 

Riccabocca. — Then that should be a warning to you never again 
to fall into the error of the would-be scholar — viz., quote second- 
hand. Lord Bacon wrote a great book to show in what knowledge 
is power, how that power should be defined, in what it might be mis- 
taken. And, pray, do you think so sensible a man ever would have 
taken the trouble to write a great book upon the subject, if he could 
have packed up all he had to say into the portable dogma, " Know- 
ledge is power?" Pooh ! no such aphorism is to be found in Bacon 
from the first page of his writings to the last. 

Parson (candidly). — Well, 1 supposed it was Lord Bacon's, and I 
am very glad to hear that the aphorism has not the sanction of his 
authority. 

Leonard (recovering his surprise). — But why so ? 

Parson. — Because it either says a great deal too much, or just- 
nothing at all. 

Leonard. — At least, sir, it seems to me undeniable. 

Parson. — Well, grant that it is undeniable. Does it prove much 
in favour of knowledge ? Pray, is not ignorance power too ? 

* This aphorism has been probably assigned to Lord Bacon upon the mere 
authority of the index to his works. It is the aphorism of the index-maker, cer 
tainly not of the great master of inductive philosophy. Bacon has, it is true,, 
repeatedlj dwelt on the power of knowledge, but with so many explanations and 
distinctions, that nothing could be more unjust to his general meaning than the 
attempt to cramp into a sentence what it costs him a volume to define. Thus, if 
tu one page he appears to confound knowledge with power, in another he sets 
them in the strongest antithesis to each other; as follows — " Adeo, signanter 
Deus opera potentise et sapientise discriminavit." But it would be s.s unfair to 
Bacon to convert into an aphorism the sentence that discriminates between 
knowledge and Dower as it is to convert into an aphorism any sentence thai 
confounds them. 



306 Mr novel: oe, 

Riccabocca.— And a power that has had much the best end of the 
quarter-staff. 

Parson. — All evil is power, and does its power make it anything 
the better ? 

Riccabocca. — Fanaticism is power — and a power that has often 
swept away knowledge like a whirlwind. The Mussulman bums the 
library of a world — and forces the Koran and the sword from the 
schools of Byzantium to the colleges of Hindostan. 

Parson (bearing on with a new column of illustration). — Hunger 
is power. The barbarians, starved out of their forests by their own 
swarming population, swept into Italy and armihilated letters. The 
Romans, however degraded, had more knowledge, at least, than the 
Gaul and the Visigoth. 

Riccabocca (bringing up the reserve). — And even in Greece, 
when Greek met Greek, the Athenians — our masters in all know- 
ledge— were beat by the Spartans, who held learning in con- 
tempt. 

Parson. — Wherefore you see, Leonard, that though knowledge be 
power, it is only one of the powers of the world ; that there are others 
as strong, and often much stronger ; and the assertion either means 
but a barren truism, not worth so frequent a repetition, or it means 
something that you would find it very difficult to prove. 

Leonard. — One nation may be beaten by another that has more 
physical strength and more military discipline; which last, permit 
me to say, sir, is a species of knowledge ; — 

Riccabocca. — Yes ; but your knowledge-mongers at present call 
upon us to discard military discipline, and the qualities that produce 
it, from the list of the useful arts. And in your own Essay, you 
insist upon knowledge as the great disbander of armies, and the foe 
of all mditary discipline ! 

Parson. — Let the young man proceed. Nations, you say, may be 
beaten by other nations less learned and civilised ? 

Leonard. — But knowledge elevates a class. I invite the members 
of my own humble order to knowledge, because knowledge will lift 
them into power. 

Riccarocca. — What do you say to that, Mr. Dale ? 

Parson. — In the first place, is it true that the class which has the 
most knowledge gets the most power ? I suppose philosophers, like 
my friend Dr. Riccabacca, think they have the most knowledge. 
And pray, in what age have philosophers governed the world ? Are 
they not always grumbling that nobody attends to them? 

Riccabocca.— Per Baccu, if people had attended to us, it would 
have been a droll sort of world by this time ! 

Parson. — Very likely. But, as a general rule, those have the 
knowledge who give themselves up to it the most. Let us put out of 
the question philosophers (who are often but ingenious lunatics), and 
speak only of erudite scholars, men of letters and practical science, 
professors, tutors, and fellows of colleges. I fancy any member oj 
Parliament would tell us thai there is uo class of men which has less 
actual influence on public affairs. These scholars have more know- 
ledge than manufacturers and shipowners, si?" » j es and farmers; but. 



VARIETIES IS ENGLISH LIFE. 20? 

do you find that they have more power over the Government and the 
votes of the House of Commons ? 

" They ought to have," said Leonard. 

"Ought they?" said the Parson; "we'll consider that latei. 
Meanwhile, you must not escape from your own proposition, which 
is, that knowledge is power — not that it ought to be. Now, even 
granting your corollary, that the power of a class is therefore pro- 
portioned to its knowledge — pray, do you suppose that while your 
order, the operatives, are instructing themselves, all the rest of the 
community are to be at a standstill ? Diffuse knowledge as you may, 
you will never produce equality of knowledge. Those who have 
most leisure, application, and aptitude for learning, will still know 
the most. Nay, by a very natural law, the more general the appetite 
for knowledge, the more the increased competition will favour those 
most adapted to excel by circumstance and nature. At this day, 
there is a vast increase of knowledge spread over all society, com- 
pared with that in the Middle Ages ; but is there not a still greater 
distinction between the highly educated gentleman and the intelligent 
mechanic, than there was then between the baron who could not 
sign his name and the churl at the plough ? between the accom- 
plished statesman, versed in all historical lore, and the voter whose 
politics are formed by his newspaper, than there was between the 
legislator who passed laws against witches, and the burgher who 
defended his guild from sone feudal aggression? between the en- 
lightened scholar and the dunce of to-day, than there was between 
the monkish alchemist and the blockhead of yesterday ? Peasant, 
voter, and dunce of this century are no doubt wiser than the churl, 
burgher, and blockhead of the twelfth. But the gentleman, states- 
man, and scholar of the present age are at least quite as favourable a 
contrast to the alchemist, witch-burner, and baron of old. As the 
progress of enlightenment has done hitherto, so will it ever do. 
Knowledge is like capital : the more there is in a country, the greater 
the disparities in wealth between one man and another. Therefore, 
if the working class increase in knowledge, so do the other classes ; 
and if the woiking class rise peacefully and legitimately into power, 
it is not in proportion to their own knowledge alone, but rather 
according as it seems to the knowledge of the other orders of the 
community, that such augmentation of proportional power is just, 
and safe, and wise." 

Placed between the Parson and the Philosopher, Leonard felt that 
his position was not favourable to the display of his forces. Insen- 
sibly he edged his chair somewhat away, and said mournfully — 

" Then, according to you, the reign of knowledge would be no 
great advance in the aggregate freedom and welfare of man?" 

Parson. — Let us define. By knowledge, do you mean intellectual 
cultivation ? — by the reign of knowledge, the ascendancy of the most 
cultivated minds ? 

Leonard (after a pause).- — Yes. 

PiICCabocca. — Oh, indiscreet young man ! that is an unfortunata 
concession of yours ; for the ascendancy of the most cultivated minds 
wcudd be a terrible oligarchy ! 



2C3 MI XGViSL; OX, 

Parson. — Perfectly true; and we now reply to your assertion, 
that men who, by profession, have most learning, ought to have 
more influence than squires and merchants, farmers and mechanics. 
Observe, all the knowledge that we mortals can acquire is not know- 
ledge positive and perfect, but knowledge comparative, and subject 
to the errors and passions of humanity. And suppose that you could 
establish, as the sole regulators of affairs, those who had the most 
mental cultivation, do you think they would not like that power well 
enough to take all means which their superior intelligence could 
devise to keep it to themselves ? The experiment was tried of old by 
the priests of Egypt ; and in the empire of China, at this day, the 
aristocracy are elected from those who have most distinguished 
themselves in learned colleges. If I may call myself a member of 
that body, " the people," I would rather be an Englishman, however 
much displeased with dull Ministers and blundering Parliaments, 
than I would be a Chinese under the rule of the picked sages of the 
Celestial Empire. Happily, therefore, my dear Leonard, nations are 
governed by many things besides what is commonly called knowledge ; 
and the greatest practical ministers, who, like Themistocles, have 
made small states great — and the most dominant races, who, like the 
Romans, have stretched their rule from a village half over the uni- 
verse — have been distinguished by various qualities which a philo- 
sopher would sneer at, and a knowledge-monger would call " sad 
prejudices," and " lamentable errors of reason." 

Leonard (bitterly). — Sir, you make use of knowledge itself to 
argue against knowledge. 

Parson. — I make use of the little I know to prove the foolishness 
of idolatry. I do not argue against knowledge ; I argue against 
knowledge worship. For here, I see in your Essay, that you are not 
contented with raising human knowledge into something like divine 
omnipotence, you must also confound her with virtue. According to 
you, it is but to diffuse the intelligenlfc of the few among the many, 
and all at which we preachers aim is accomplished. Nay, more • for, 
whereas, we humble preachers have never presumed to say, with the 
heathen Stoic, that even virtue is sure of happiness below (though 
it be the best road to it), you tell us plainly that this knowledge of 
yours gives not only the virtue of a saint, but bestows the bliss of 
a god. Before the steps of your idol, the evils of life disappear. To 
hear yen, one has but ' to know,' in order to be exempt from the sins 
and sorrows of the ignorant. Has it ever been so ? _ Grant that you 
diffuse amongst the many all the knowledge ever attained by the few. 
Have the wise few been so unerring and so happy ? You supposed 
that your motto was accurately cited from Bacon. What was Bacon 
himself? The poet tells you — 

" The wisest; brightest, meanest of mankind ! " 

Can you hope to bestow upon the vast mass of your order the 
luminous iiitclligeiice of this 'Lord Chancellor of Nature?' Grant 
that you do so — and what guarantee have you for the virtue and the 
happiness which you assume as the concomitants of the gift ? See 
Bacon himself: what black ingratitude ! what miserable sen-seeking i 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 90© 

what truckling servility ! what abject and pitiful spirit ! So far from 
intellectual knowledge, in its highest form and type, insuring virtue 
and bliss, it is by no means uncommon to find great mental cultiva- 
tion combined with great moral corruption. [Aside to Riccabocca — 
"Push on, will you?"] 

Riccabocca. — A combination remarkable in eras as in individuals. 
Petronius shows us a state of morals at which a common-place devil 
would blush, in the midst of a society more intellectually cultivated 
than certainly was that which produced Regulus or the Horatii. 
And the most learned eras in modern Italy were precisely those 
which brought the vices into the most ghastly refinement. 

Leonard (rising in great agitation, and clasping his hands). — I 
cannot contend with you, who produce against information so sender 
and crude as mine the stores which have been locked from my reach. 
But I feel that there must be another side to this shield — a shield 
that you will not even allow to be silver. And, oh, if you thus speak 
of knowledge, why have you encouraged me to know ? 



CHAPTER XX. 

"Ah, my son!" said the Parson, "if I wished to prove the value of 
Religion, would you think I served it much, if I took as my motto, 
' Religion is power ?' Would not that be a base and sordid view of 
its advantages ? And would you not say, he who regards religion as 
a power intends to abuse it as a priestcraft ?" 

" Well put ! " said Riccabocca. 

" Wait a moment — let me think ! Ah — I see, sir !" said Leonard. 

Parson. — -If the cause be holy, do not weigh it in the scales of 
the market ; if its objects be peaceful, do not seek to arm it with the 
weapons of strife ; if it is to be the cement of society, do not vaunt it 
as the triumph of class against class. 

Leonard (ingenuously). — You correct me nobly, sir. Know- 
ledge is power, but not in the sense in which I have interpreted the 
saying. 

Parson. — Knowledge is one of the powers in the moral world, 
but one that, in its immediate result, is not always of the most 
worldly advantage to the possessor. It is one of the slowest, because 
•one of the most durable, of agencies. It may take a thousand years 
for a thought to come into power ; and the thinker who originated it 
might have died in rags or m chains. 

Riccabocca. — Our Italian proverb saith that "the teacher is like 
the candle, which lights others in consuming itself." 

Parson. — Therefore he who has the true ambition of knowledge 
should entertain it for the power of his idea, not for the power it may 
bestow on himself : it should be lodged in the conscience, and, like 
the conscience, look for no certain reward on this side the grave_ 
And since knowledge is compatible with good and with evil, would 
sot it be better to say, "Knowledge is a trust f" 

VOL. I. P 



?13 MY NOVEL; OK, 

"You are right, sir," said Leonard, cheerfully ; "pray proceed." 

Passon. — You ask me why we encourage yoa to know. First, 
because (as you say yourself in your Essay) knowledge, irrespective 
of gain, is in itself a delight, ana ought to be something far more. 
Like liberty, like religion, it may be abused : but I have no more 
light to say that the poor shall be ignorant, than I have to say that 
the rich only shall be free, and that the clergy alone shall learn the 
truths of redemption. You truly observe in a our treatise that know- 
ledge opens to us other excitements than those of the senses, and 
another life than that of the moment. The difference between us is 
this, that you forget that the same refinement which brings us new 
pleasures, exposes us to new pains — the horny hand of the peasant 
leels not the nettles which sting the fine skin of the scholar. You 
forget also, that whatever widens the sphere of the desires, opens to 
them also new temptations. Vanity, the desire of applause, pride, 
the sense of superiority — gnawing discontent where that superiority 
is not recognised — morbid susceptibility, which comes with all new 
feelings — the underrating of simple pleasures apart from the intel- 
lectual — the chase of the imagination, often unduly stimulated, for 
tilings unattainable below — all these are surely amongst the first 
temptations that beset the entrance into knowledge. 

Leonard shaded his face with his hand. 

" Hence," continued the Parson, benignantly — " hence, so far from 
considering that we do all that is needful to accomplish ourselves as 
men, when we cultivate only the intellect, we should remember that 
we thereby continually increase the range of our desires, and there- 
fore of our temptations ; and we should endeavour, simultaneously, to 
cultivate both those affections of the heart which prove the ignorant 
to be God's children no less than the wise, and those moral qualities 
which have made men great and good when reading and writing were 
scarcely known : to wit, — patience and fortitude under poverty and 
distress ; humility and beneficence amidst grandeur and wealth ; and, 
in counteraction to that egotism which all superiority, mental or 
worldly, is apt to inspire, justice, the father of all the more solid 
virtues, softened by Charity, which is their loving mother. Thus 
accompanied, knowledge indeed becomes the magnificent crown of 
humanity,— not the imperious despot, but the checked and tempered 
sovereign of the soul." 

The Parson paused, and Leonard, coming near him, timidly took 
his hand, with a child's affectionate and grateful impulse. 

Riccabocca. — And if, Leonard, you are not satisfied with our Par- 
son's excellent definitions, you have only to read what Lord Bacon 
himself has said upon the true ends of knowledge, to comprehend at 
once how angry the poor great man, whom Dr. Dale treats so harshly, 
would have been with those who have stinted his elaborate distinc- 
tions and provident cautions into that coxcombicrtl little aphorism, 
and then misconstrued all he designed to prove in favour of the com- 
mandment, and authority of learning. For [added the sage, looking 
up as e man does when he is taxing his memory] I think it is thu. 
that, at.J" saying the greatest error of all is the mistaking or mis' 
placing the end of knowledge, and denouncing the various objects foi 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH Lli'JS Sll 

which it is vulgarly sought— I think it is thus that Lord Bacon pro- 
ceeds. . " Knowledge is not a shop for profit or sale, but a rich 
storehouse for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of men's 
estate." * 

Parson (remorsefully). — Are those Lord Bacon's words ? I am 
very sorry I spoke so uncharitably of his life. I must examine it 
ap; in. I may find excuses for it now that I could not when I first 
fo: ,;ied my judgment. I was then a raw lad at Oxford. But I see, 
Leonard, there is still something on your mind. 

Leonard. — It is true, sir ; I would but ask whether it is not by 
knowledge that we arrive at the qualities and tdrtues you so well 
describe, but which you seem to consider as coming to us through 
channels apart from knowledge ? 

Parson. — If you mean by the word knowledge something very 
different from wnat you express in your Essay, and which those con- 
tending for mental instruction, irrespective of religion and ethics, 
appear also to convey by the word, you are right ; but, remember, we 
have already agreed that by the word knowledge we mean culture 
purely intellectual. 

Leonard. — That is true ; we so understood it. 

Parsjn. — Thus, when this great Lord Bacon erred, you may say 
that he erred from want of knowledge— the knowledge which moralists 
and preachers would convey. But Lord Bacon had read all that 
moralists and preachers could say on such matters ; and he certainly 
did not err from want of intellectual cultivation. Let me here, my 
child, invite you to observe, that He who knew most of our human 
hearts and our immortal destinies, did not insist on this intellectual 
culture as essential to the virtues that form our well-being here, and 
conduce to our salvation hereafter. Had it been essential, the All- 
wise One would not have selected humble fishermen for the teachers 
of His doctrine, instead of culling His disciples from Roman portico 
or Athenian academe. And this, which distinguishes so remarkably 
the Gospel from the ethics of heathen philosophy, wherein knowledge 
is declared to be necessary to virtue, is a proof how slight was the 
heathen sage's insight into the nature of mankind, when compared 
with the Saviour's ; for hard, indeed, would it be to men, whether 
high or low, rich or poor, if science and learning, or contemplative 
philosophy, were the sole avenues to peace and redemption ; since, in 

* " But the greatest error of all the rest is the mistaking or misplacing of the 
last or farthest end of knowledge : — for men have entered into a desire of learning 
and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity and inquisitive appetite ,- 
sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for orna- 
ment and rep utation ; and sometimes to enable them to victory of w»t and contra, 
diction, and most times for lucre and profession" [that is, for most of those 
objects which are meant by the ordinary citers of the saying, " Knowledge is 
power'*] — " and seldom sincerely to give a true account of these gifts of reason to 
the benefit and use of men ; as if there were sought in knowledge a couch where- 
upon to rest a searching and restless spirit . or a terrace for a wandering and 
variable mmd to walk up and down, with a fair prospect : or a tower of state for a 
proud mind to raise itself upon ; or a fort or commanding ground for strife and 
contention ; or a shop for profit or sale — and not a rich storehouse for the glory of 
the Creator, and the relief of men's estate." — Advancement or Leabbimij, 
Brokl. 



812 \;y novel; on, 

tiiis state of ordeal requiring active duties, very few in any age, whe- 
ther they be high or low, rich or poor, ever are or can be devoted to 
pursuits merely mental. Christ does not represent heaven as a college 
lor the learned : therefore the rules of tbe Celestial Legislator are 
rendered clear to the simplest understanding as to the deepest. 

E.ICCASOCCA. — And that which Plato and Zeno. Pythagoras and 
Socrates, could not do, was done by men whose ignorance would harfi 
been a by-word in the schools of the Greek. The gods of the vulgar 
were dethroned ; the face of the world was changed ! This thought 
may make us allow, indeed, that there are agencies more powerful 
than mere knowledge, and ask, after all, what is the mission which 
knowledge should achieve ? 

Parson. — The Sacred Book tells us even that ; for after establish- 
ing the truth that, for the multitude, knowledge is not essential to 
happiness and good, it accords still to knowledge its sublime part in 
the revelation prepared and announced. When an instrument of 
more than ordinary intelligence was required for a purpose divine,— 
when the Gospel, recorded by the simple, was to be explained by the 
acute, enforced by the energetic, carried home to tbe doubts of the 
Gentile, the Supreme Will joined to the zeal of the earlier apostles 
the learning and genius of St. Paul — not holier than the others, — 
calling himself the least, yet labouring more abundantly than them all, 
— making himself all things unto all men, so that some might be saved. 
The ignorant may be saved no less surely than the wise ; but here 
comes the wise man who helps to save ! And how the fulness and 
animation of this grand Presence, of this indomitable Energy, seem to 
vivify the toil, and to speed the work ! — " In journeyings often, in 
perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own country- 
men, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the 
wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren." 
Behold, my son ! does not Heaven here seem to reveal the true type 
of Knowledge, — a sleepless activity, a pervading agency, a dauntless 
heroism, an all-supporting faith ? — a power — a power indeed, — a power 
apart from the agrandisement of self, — a power that brings to him who 
owns and transmits it but " weariness and painfubiess ; in watchings 
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, hi cold and nakedness," 
— but a power distinct from the mere circumstance of the man, rush- 
ing from him as rays from the sun ; borne through the air, and clothing 
it with light, — piercing under earth, and calling forth the harvest ! 
Worship not knowledge, — worship not the sun, my child ! Let 
the sun but proclaim the Creator ; let the knowledge but illumine 
1 he worship ! 

The good man, overcome by his own earnestness, paused ; his head 
drooped on the young student's breast, and all three were long 
silent. 



TAMETliiS IN ENGLISH LIFE, 21i 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Whatever ridicule may be thrown upon Mr. Dale's dissertations 
hy the wit of the enlightened, they had a considerable, and I think a 
beneficial, effect upon Leonard Fairfield — an effect which may per- 
haps create less surprise when the reader remembers that Leonard 
was unaccustomed to argument, and still retained many of the preju- 
dices natural to his rustic breeding. Nay, he actually thought it 
possible that, as both Riccabocca and Mr. Dale were more than 
double his age, and had had opportunities not only of reading twice 
as many books, but of gathering up experience in wider ranges of life 
—he actually, I say, thought it possible that they might be better 
acquainted with the properties and distinctions of knowledge than 
himself. At all events, the Parson's words were so far well-timed, 
that they produced in Leonard very much of that state of mind which 
Mr. Dale desired to effect before communicating to him the startling 
intelligence that he was to visit relations whom he had never seen, of 
whom he had heard but little, and that it was at least possible that 
the result of that visit might be to open to him greater facilities for 
instruction, and a higher degree in life. 

Without some such preparation, I fear that Leonard would have 
gone forth into the world with an exaggerated notion of his own 
acquirements, and with a notion yet more exaggerated as to the kind 
of power that such knowledge as he possessed would obtain for itself 
As it was, when Mr. Dale broke to him the news of the experimental 
journey before him, cautioning him against being over sanguine, 
Leonard received the intelligence with a serious meekness, and 
thoughts that were nobly solemn. 

When the door closed on his visitors, he remained for some 
moments motionless, and in deep meditation; then he unclosed the 
door and stole forth. The night was already far advanced, the 
heavens were luminous with all the host of stars. "I think," said 
the student, referring, in later life, to that crisis in his destiny — '' 1 
think it was then, as I stood alone, yet surrounded by worlds s<~> 
numberless, that I first felt the distinction between mind and soul." 

" Tell me," said Riccabocca, as he parted company with Mr. Dale, 
" whether you have given to Prank Hazeldean, on entering life, the 
same lecture on the limits and ends of knowledge which you have 
bestowed on Leonard Pairfield ? " 

" My friend," quoth the Parson, with a touch of human conceit, 
" I have ridden on horseback, and I know that some horses should be 
guided by the bridle, and some should be urged by the spur." 
_ " Cospetto .' " said Riccabocca, "you contrive to put every expe- 
rience of yours to some use — even your journey on Mr. Hazeldean's 
pad. And I now see why, in this little world of a village, you hav« 
picked up so general an acquaintance with life." 

" Did yon ever read White's Natural History of Selborm?" 

1*10. 



214 MY NOVEL; oa, 

"Do so, and you will find that you need not go far to learn the 
habits of birds, and inow the difference between a swallow and a 
swift. Leam the difference in a village, and you know the diiference 
wherever swallows and swifts skim the air." 

" Swallows and swifts ! — true ; but men " 

" Are with us all the year round — which is more than we can say 
of swallows and swifts." 

" Mr. Dale," said Riceabocca, taking off his hat with great forma- 
lity, " if ever again I find myself in a dilemma, I will come to you 
instead of to Machiavelli." 

" Ah !" cried the Parson, "if I could but have a calm hour's talk 
with you on the errors of the Papal reus: " 

Riceabocca was off like a shot. 



CHAPTER XXD. 

The next day. Mr. Dale had a long conversation with Mrs. Pair- 
field. At first, he found some difficulty in getting over her pride, and 
inducing her to accept overtures from parents who had so long slighted 
both Leonard and herself. And it would have been in vain to have 
put before the good woman the worldly advantages which such over- 
tures implied. Eut when Mr. Dale said, almost sternly, "Your 
parents are eld, your father infirm ; their least wish should be as 
binding to you as their command,"— the Widow bowed her head, and 
said — 

" God bless them, sir, I was very sinful — ' Honour your father and 
mother.' I'm no scollard, but I know the Commandments. Let 
Lenny go. But he'll soon forget me, and mayhap he'll learn to be 
ashamed of me." 

"There I will trust him," said the Parson; and he contrived easily 
to reassure and sooth her. 

It was not till all this was settle i that Mr. Dale drew forth an un- 
sealed letter which Mr. Richard Avenel, taking his hint, had given to 
him, as from Leonai d's grandparents, and said — " This is for you, 
and it contains an enclosure of some value." 

" Will you read it, sir ? As I said before, I'm no scollard.'"' 

" But Leonard is, and he will read to you." 

When Leonard returned home that evening, Mrs. Pah-field showed 
him the letter. It ran, thus — 



" Dear Jane, — Mr. Dale will tell you that we wish Leonard to 
come to us. We are glad to hear you are well. We forward, by Mr. 
Drie, a bank-note for £50, which comes from Richard, your brother. 
So no more at present from your affectionate parents, 

" John and Margaret Avenel." 

The letter was in a stiff lea? ale scrawl, and Leonard observed that 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 21& 

two or three mistakes in spelling had been corrected, either in another 
pen or in a different hajd. 

" Dear brother Dick, how good in him ! " cried the Widow. 
" When I saw there was money, I thought it must be Mm. How I 
should like to see Dick again. But I s'pose he's still in AmerLkay. 
Well, well, tiris will buy clothes for you." 

" No ; you must keep it all, mother, and put it in the Savings' 
Bank." 

" I'm not quite so silly as that," cried Mrs. Fairfield with con- 
tempt ; and she put the fifty pounds into a cracked teapot. 

"It must not stay there when I'm gone. You may be robbed, 
mother." 

" Dear me, dear me, that's true. What shall I do with it ? — what 
do I want with it, too ? Dear me, I wish they hadn't sent it. I 
shan't sleep in peace. You must e'en put it in your own pouch, and 
button it up tight, boy." 

Lenny smiled, and took the note ; but he tooli it to Mr. Dale, and 
begged him to put it into the Savings' Bank for his mother. 

The day following he went to take leave of his master, of Jackeymo, 
of the fountain, the garden. But after he had gone through the first 
of these adieus, with Jackeymo — who, poor man, indulged in all the 
lively gesticulations of grief which make half the eloquence of his 
countrymen, and then, absolutely blubbering, hurried away — Leonard 
himself was so affected that he could not proceed at once to the house, 
but stood beside the fountain, trying hard to keep back his tears. 

" You, Leonard — and you are going ! " said a soft voice ; and the 
tears fell faster than ever, for he recognised the voice of Yiolante. 

" Do not cry," continued the child, with a kind of tender gravity. 
" You are going, but papa says it would be selfish in us to grieve, for 
it is for your good ; and we should be glad. But I am selfish, 
Leonard, and I do grieve. I shall miss you sadly." 

" You, young lady — you miss me ? " 

" Yes. But I do not cry, Leonard, for I envy you, and I wish t 
were a boy : I wish I could do as you." 

The girl clasped her hands, and reared her slight form, with a kind 
of passionate dignity. 

" Do as me, and part from all those you love ! " 

" But to serve those you love. One day you will come back to 
your mother's cottage, and say, ' I have conquered fortune.' that 
1 could go forth and return, as you will ! But my father has no 
country, and Ms only child is a useless girl." 

As Violante spoke, Leonard had dried Ms tears: her emotion 
distracted him from his own. 

" Oh," continued Violante, again raismg her head loftily, " what it 
is to be a man ! A woman sighs ' I wish,' but a man should say ' I 
will. 1 " 

Occasionally before Leonard had noted fitful flashes of a nature 
grand and heroic in the Italian child, especially of late — flashes the 
more remarkable from their contrast to a form most exquisitely 
femuiine, and to a sweetness of temper wMch made even her pride 
Kentle. But now it seemed as if the cMld spoke with the command 



Slfi MT NOVEL; Ojfc, 

of a queen — almost with the inspiration of a Mu3e. A strange and 
new sense of courage entered within him. 

" May I remember these words ! " he murmured, half audibly. 

The girl turned and surveyed him with eyes brighter for their 
moisture. She then extended her hand to him, with a quick move- 
ment, and as he bent over it, with a grace taught to him by genuine 
emotion, she said—" And if you do, then, girl and child as I am, I 
shall think I have aided a brave heart in the great strife for honour ! " 

She lingered a moment, smiled as if to herself, and then, gliding 
away, was lost among the trees. 

After a bng pause, in which Leonard recovered slowly from the 
surprise and agitation into which. Violante had thrown his spirits - 
previously excited as they were — he went, murmuring to himseif, 
towards the house. But Biccabocca was from home. Leonard 
turned mechanically to the terrace, and busied himself with the 
flowers. But the dark eyes of Violante shone on his thoughts, and 
her voice rang in his ear. 

At length Riccabocca, appeared on the road, attended by a labourer, 
who carried something indistinct under his arm. 

The Italian beckoned to Leonard to follow him into the parlour, 
and after conversing with liini kindly, and at some length, and pack- 
ing up, as it were, a considerable provision of wisdom in the portable 
shape of aphorisms and proverbs, the sage left him alone for a few 
moments. Biccabocca then returned with his wife, and bearing a 
small knapsack : — 

"It is not much we can do for you, Leonard, and money is the worst 
gift in the world for a keepsake ; but my wife and I have put our 
heads together to furnish you with a little outfit. Giacomo, who was 
in our secret, assures us that the clothes will fit ; and stole, I faiicy, a 
coat of yours, to have the right measure. Put them on when you go 
to your relations: it is astonishing what a difference it makes in the 
ideas people form of us, according as our coats are cut one way or 
anothcr. I should not be presentable in London thus ; and nothing 
is more true than that a tailor is often the making of a man." 

" The shirts, too, are very good holland," said Mrs. Biccabocca, 
about to open the knapsack. 

" Never mind details, my dear," cried the wise man; "shirts are 
comprehended in the general principle of clothes. And, Leonard, as 
a remembrance somewhat more personal, accept this, which I have 
worn many a year when time was a thing of importance to me, and 
nobler fates than mine hung on a moment. We missed the moment, 
or abused it ; and here I am, a waif on a foreign shore. Methinks I 
have done with Time." 

The exile, as he thus spoke, placed in Leonard's reluctant hands a 
tvatch that would have delighted an antiquary, and shocked a dandy. 
It was exceedingly thick, having an outer case of enamel, and an inner 
one of gold. The hands and the figures of the hours had originallv 
been formed of brilliants ; but the brilliants had long since vanished. 
Still, even thus bereft, the watch was much more in character with 
the giver than the receiver, and was as little suited to Leonard as 
would have been the red silk umbrella. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH J.T7E. 21? 

" It is old-fashioned," said Mrs. Riccabocca; " but it goes bette? 
tdan any clock in the county. I really think it will last to the end o: 
lie world." 

" Carissima mia ! " cried the Doctor, " I thought I had convinced 
you that the world is by no means come to its last legs." 

" Oh, I did not mean anything, Alphonso," said Mrs. Riccabocca, 
colouring. 

" And that is all we do mean when we talk about that of which w r e- 
can know nothing," said the Doctor, less gallantly than usual, 
for he resented that epithet of " old-fashioned," as applied to the 
watch. 

Leonard, we see, had been silent all this time ; he could not speak 
— literally and truly, he could not speak. How he got out of his 
embarrassment, and how he got out of the room, he never explained 
to my satisfaction ; but, a few minutes afterwards, he was seen 
hurrying down the road very briskly. 

Riccabocca and his wife stood at the window gazing after him. 

" There is a depth in that boy's heart," said the sage, " which 
might float an Argosy." 

"Poor dear boy! I think we have put everytliing_ into the 
knapsack that he can possibly want," said good Mrs. Riccabocca, 
musingly. 

The Doctor (continuing his soliloquy). — They are strong, but 
they are not immediately apparent. 

Mrs. Riccabocca (resuming hers). — -They are at the bottom of the 
knapsack. 

The Doctor. — They will stand long wear and tear. 

Mrs. Riccabocca. — A year, at least, with proper care at the 
wash. 

The Doctor (startled). — Care at the wash ! What on earth are you 
talking of, ma'am ? 

Mrs. Riccabocca (mildly). — The shirts, to be sure, my love ! And 
you? 

The Doctor (with a heavy sigh). — The feelings, ma'am ! [Then, 
after a pause, taking his wife's hand affectionately] — But you did 
quite right to think of the shirts : Mr. Dale said very truly — 

Mrs. Riccabocca. — "What ? 

The Doctor. — That there was a great deal in common between vJi 
—even when I think of feelings, and you but of — shirts ! 



CHAPTER XXin. 

Mr. ana Mrs. Avenel sat within the parlour — Mr. Richard stood 
on the hearth-rug, whistling Yankee Doodle. " The Parson writes 
word that the lad will come to-day," said Richard, suddenly — " let 

me see the letter, — ay, to-day. If he took the coach as far as -, 

he might walk the rest of the way in two or three hours. He shoulA. 
be pretty nearly here. I have a great mind to go and meet him ; 5; 



£18 MY NOVEL; OX, 

will save his asking questions, and hearing about me. I can cleat 
the town by the back way, and get out at the high-road." 

" You'll not know him from any one else," said Mrs. Avenel. 

""Well, that is a good one ! 1m ot know an Avenel! We've all the 
same cut of the jib— nave not we, father ?" 

Poor John laughed heartily, till the tears rolled down his cheeks. 

" We were always a well-favoured fam'ly," said John, recomposing 
himself. " There was Luke, but he's gone ; and Harry, but he's dead 
too ; and Dick, but he's in Anierikay — no, he's here ; and my darling 
Nora, but " 

" Hush !" interrupted Mrs. Avenel ; " hush, John ! " 

The old man stared at her, and theH put his tremulous hand 
to his brow. " And Nora's gone too ! " said he, in a voice of profound 
woe. Both hands then fell on his knees, and his head drooped on his 
breast. 

Mrs. Avenel rose, kissed her husband on the forehead, and walked 
away to the window. Richard took up his hat, and brushed the nap 
carefully with his handkerchief : but his lips quivered. 

" I'm going," said he, abruptly. " Now mind, mother, not a Word 
about Uncle Richard yet ; we must first see how we like each other, 
and" in a low whisper " you'll try and get that into mv poor father's 
head?" 

" Ay, Richard," said Mrs. Avenel, quietly. Richard put on his hat 
and went out by the back way. He stole along the fields that skirted 
the town, and had only once to cross the street before he got into the 
high-road. 

He walked on till he came to the first milestone. There he seated 
himself, lighted his cigar, and awaited his nephew. It was now 
uearly the hour of sunset, and the road before him lay westward. 
Richard, from time to time, looked along the road, shading his eyes 
with Lis hand ; and at length, just as the disc of the sun had naif sunk 
down the horizon, a solitary figm'e came up the way. It emerged 
suddenly from the turn in the road ; the reddening beams coloured all 
the atmosphere around it. Solitary and silent it came as from a Land 
of Light. 



CHAPTER XXTV 

" You have been walking far, young man?" said Richard Avenel, 

"No, sir, not very. That is Lansmere before me, is it not ?" 

"Yes, it is Lansmere; you stop there, I guess?" 

Leonard made a sign in the affirmative, and walked on a few paces 
then, seeing the stranger who had accosted him still by his side, ha 
said — 

" If you know the town, sir, perhaps you will have the goodness to 
tell me whereabouts Mr. Avenel lives ? " 

" 1 can put you into a straight cut across the fields, that will bring 
5©u just behind the house." 

" You are very kind, but it will take you out of your way." 



VABIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 219 

" No, it is m my way. So you are going to Mr. Avenel's ? — a good 
old gentleman." 

"I've always heard so ; and Mrs. Avenel " 

"A particular superior woman," said Richard. "Anyone else to 
ask after ? — I know the family well." 

" No, thank you, sir." 

"They have a son, I believe; but he's in America, is not he?" 

" I believe he is, sir." 

"I see the Parson has kept faith with me," muttered Richard. 

" If you can tell me anything about him" said Leonard, " I should 
be very glad." 

"Why so, young man ? — perhaps he is hanged by this thus." 

"Hanged!" 

"He was a sad dog, I am told." 

"Then you have been told very falsely," said Leonard, colouring. 

" A sad wild dog — his parents were so glad when he cut and run- 
went off to the States. They say he made money; but, if so, he 
neglected his relations shamefully." 

'' Sir," said Leonard, " you are wholly misinformed. He has beer. 
most generous to a relation who had little claim on him ; and I never 
heard his name mentioned but with love and praise." 

Richard instantly fell to whistling Yankee Doodle, and walked 
on several paces without saying a word. He then made a slight 
apology for his impertinence — hoped no offence — and, with his usual 
bold but astute style of talk, contrived to bring out something of his 
companion's mind. He was evidently struck with the clearness and 
propriety with which Leonard expressed himself, raised his eyebrows 
ni surprise more than once, and looked him full in the face with an 
attentive and pleased survey. — Leonard had put on the new clothes 
with which Riccabocca and wife had provided him. They were those 
appropriate to a young country tradesman in good circumstances ; 
but as Leonard did not think about the clothes, so he had uncon- 
sciously something of the ease of the gentleman. 

They now came into the fields. Leonard paused before a slip of 
ground sown with rye. 

" I should have thought grass land would have answered better, 
so near a town," said he. 

"No doubt it would," answered Richard; "but they are sadly 
behindhand in these parts. You see the great park yonder, on the 
other side of the road? That would answer better for rye than 
grass ; but then, what would become of my Lord's deer ? The aris- 
tocracy eat us up, young man." 

" But the aristocracy did not sow this piece with rye, I suppose ?" 
said Leonard, smiling. 

" And what do you conclude from that ?" 

" Let every man look to his own ground," said Leonard, with a 
cleverness of repartee caught from Dr. Riccabocca. 

" 'Cute lad you are," said Richard ; " and we'll talk more of these 
matters another time." 

They now came within sight of Mr. Avenel's house. 

" You c?.a get througb. the gap in the hedge, by the old pollard 



220 MY NOVE1 : OX, 

oak," said Richard, "and come round by the front, of the house, 
"Why, you're not afraid — are you?" 

" I am a stranger." 

" Shall I introduce you ? I told you that I knew the old couple." 

" Oh no, sir ! I would rather meet them alone." 

" Go ; and — wait a bit — harkye, young man, Mrs. Avenel is a cold- 
mannered woman ; but don't be abashed by that." 

Leonard thanked the good-natured stranger, crossed the field, 
passed the gap, and paused a moment under the stinted shade of tin 
old hollow-lieaned oak. The ravens were returning to their nests. 
At the sight of a human form under the tree, they wheeled round 
and watched him afar. From the thick of the boughs, the youiijf 
ravens sent their hoarse low cry.* 



CHAPTER XXV. 

The young man entered the neat, prim, formal parlour. 

" You arc welcome !" said Mrs. Avenel, in a firm voice. 

" The gentleman is heartily welcome," cried poor John. 

'"' It is your grandson, Leonard Fairfield," said Mrs. Avenel. 

But John, who had risen with knocking knees, gazed hard at Leo- 
nard, and then fell on his breast, sobbing aloud — " Nora's eyes !— he 
has a blink in his eye like Kora's." 

Mrs. Avenel approached with a steady step, and drew away the old 
man tenderly. 

'' He is a poor creature," she whispered to Leonard—" you excite 
him. Come away, I will show you your room." 

Leonard followed her up the stairs, and came into a room — neatly, 
and even preltily, furnished. The carpet and curtains were faded by 
t lie sun, and of old-fashioned pattern ; there was a look about the 
room as if it had been long disused. 

Mrs. Avenel sank down on the first chair on entering. 

Leonard drew hrs arm round her waist affectionately : " I fear that 
1 have put you out sadly — my dear grandmother." 

Mrs. Avenel glided hastily from his arm, and her countenance 
worked much — every nerve in it twitching, as it were ; then, placing 
her hand on his locks, she said with passion, " God bless you, my 
grandson," and left the room. 

Leonard dropped his knapsack on the floor, and looked around him 
wistfully. The room seemed as if it had once been occupied by a 
female. There was a work-box on the chest of drawers, and over it 
hanging shelves for books, suspended by ribbons that had once been 
blue, with sfik and fringe appended to each shelf, and knots and 
tassels here and there— the taste of a woman, or rather of a girl, who 
seeks to give a grace to the commonest things around her. With the 

* It so rarely happens that ravens are found to build near a dwelling-house, that 
it is perhaps necessary to observe that the instance here referred to is founde-3 oa 
k fact slated to the author on pood authority 



PAlUETlEs lN ENUirSH LIFE. 221 

mechanical habit of a student, Leonard took down one or two of the 
volumes still left on the shelves. He found Spenxer's Fairy Queen, 
Racine in French, Tasso in Italian: and on the fly-leaf of each 
volume, in the exquisite_ handwriting familiar to his memory, the 
name " Leonora." He kissed the books, and replaced them with a 
feeling akin both to tenderness and awe. 

He had not been alone in his room more than a quarter of an hour, 
before the maid-servant knocked at his door and summoned him to 
tea. 

Poor John had recovered his spirits, and his wife sat by his side 
holding his hand in hers. Poor John was even gay. He asked many 
questions about his daughter Jane, and did not wait for the answers. 
Then he spoke about the Squire, whom he confounded with Audley 
Egerton, and talked of elections and the Blue party, and hoped 
Leonard would always be a good Blue ; and then he i'ell to his tea 
and toast, and said no more. 

. Mrs. Avenel spoke little, but she eyed Leonard askant, as it were, 
from time to time; and, after each glance, the nerves of the poor 
severe face twitched again. 

A little after nine o'clock, Mrs. Avenel lighted a candle, and placir g 
it in Leonard's hand, said, " You must be tired — you know your own 
room now. Good night." 

Leonard took the light, and, as was his wont with his mother, 
kissed Mrs. Avenel on the cheek. Then he took John's hand and 
kissed him too. The old man was half asleep, and murmured drea- 
mily, "That's Nora." 

Leonard had retired to his room about half an hour, when Richard 
Avenel entered the house softly, and joined his parents. 

"Well, mother?" said he. 

" Well, Richard — vou have seen him ? " 

" And like him. l)o you know, he has a great look of poor Kora ? 
— more like her than Jane." 

" Yes ; he is handsomer than Jane ever was, but more like your 
father than any one. John was so comely. You take to the boy,, 
then ? " 

" Ay, that I do. Just tell him in the morning that he is to go with 
a gentleman who will be his friend, and don't say more. The chaise 
shall be at the door after breakfast. Let him get into it : I shall 
wait for him out of the town. What's the room you gave; 
him ? " 

" The room you would not take." 

"' The room in which Nora slept ? Oh no ! 1 could not have slept 
a wink there. What a charm there was in that girl — how we all 
loved her ! But she was too beautiful and good for us — too good to 
live!" 

" None of us are too good," said Mrs. Avenel, with great austerity, 
"and I beg you will not talk in that way. Good night — I must get 
your poor father to bed." 

When Leonard opened his eyes the next morning, they rested on 
the face of Mrs. Avenel^ which was bending over his pillow. But it 
was ions before he coula recognise that countenance, so changed we* 



i'.ii MY NOVEL; OBj 

its expression — so tender, so motherlike. Nay, the face of his own 
mother had never seemed to him so soft with a mother's passion. 

" Ah ! " he murmured, half rising and flinging his young arms 
round her neck. Mrs. Avenel, this time taken by surprise, warmly 
returned the embrace : she clasped him to her breast, she kissed him 
again and again. At length, with a quick start, she escaped, and 
walked up and down the room, pressing her hands tightly together. 
When she halted, her face had recovered its usual severity and cold 
precision. 

" It is time for you to rise, Leonard," said she. " You will leave 
us to-day. A gentleman has promised to take charge of you, and do 
for you more than we can. A chaise will be at the door soon — make 
haste." 

John was absent from the breakfast-table. His wife said that he 
never rose till late, and must not be disturbed. 

The meal was scarcely over before a chaise and pair came to the 
door. 

" You must not keep the chaise waiting — the gentleman is very 
punctual." 

" But he is not come." 

" No ; he has walked on before, and will get in after you are out 
of the town." 

" What is his name, and why should he care for me, grandmother ?" 

" He will tell you himself. Be quick." 

" But you will bless me again, grandmother. I love you already." 

" I do bless you," said Mrs. Avenel firmly. " Be honest and good, 
and beware ot the first false step." She pressed his hand with a 
convulsive grasp, and led him to the outer door. 

The postboy clanked his whip, the chaise rattled off. Leonard put 
his head out out of the window to catch a last glimpse of the old 
woman ; but the boughs of the pollard oak, and its gnarled decay- 
ing trunk, hid her from his eye : and look as he would, till the road 
turned, he saw but the melancholy tree. 



VASIBTJSS m «NOLI8H LIFE. 



BOOK V. 



INITIAL CHAPTER. 

CONTAINING ME. CAXTON's UNAVAILING CAUTION NOT 10 22 

DULL. 

" I hope, Pisistratus," said my father, " that you do not intend to 
bo dull?" 

" Heaven forbid, sir ! What could make you ask such a question ? 
Intend/ No ! if I am dull, it is from innocence." 

" A very long discourse upon knowledge ! " said my father ; " very 
long. I should cut it out ! " 

Hooked upon my father as a Byzantian sage might have looked on 
a Vandal. " Cut.it out ! " 

" Stops the action, sir ! " said my father, dogmatically. 

" Action ! But a novel is not a drama." 

" No, it is a great deal longer — twenty times as long, I dare say," 
replied Mr. Caxton, with a sigh. 

" Well, sir— well ! I think my Discourse upon Knowledge has 
much to do with the subject — is vitally essential to the subject; does 
not stop the action — only explains and elucidates the action. And 
I am astonished, sir, that you, a scholar, and a cultivator of know- 
ledge " 

" There — there ! " cried my father, deprecatingly. " I yield — I 
yield. What better could I expect when I set up for a critic ! What 
author ever lived that did not fly into a passion, even with his own 
father, if his father presumed to say—' Cut out !' " 

Mas. Caxton. — My dear Austin, I am sure Pisistratus did not 
mean to offend you, and I have no doubt he will take your 

Pisistratus (hastily). — Advice for the future, certainly. I will 
Quicken the action, and 

" Go on with the Novel," whispered Roland, looking up from Mb 
eternal account-book. " We have lost £200 by our barley ! " 

Therewith I plunged my pen into the ink. and my thoughts into 
the "Fair Shadowland" 



«*4 Er hotel: 0*. 



CHAPTER H. 

" Halt ! " cried a voice ; and not a little surprised was Leonard 
when the stranger who had accosted him the preceding evening got 
into the chaise. 

" Well," said Richard, " I am not the sort of man you expectea, 
oh ? Take time to recover yourself." And with these words Richard 
drew forth a book from his pocket, threw himself back, and began 
to read. Leonard stole many a glance at the acute, hardy, hand- 
some face of his companion, and gradually recognised a family 
likeness to poor John, in whom, despite age and infirmity, the traces 
of no common share of physical beauty were still evident. And, with 
that quick link in ideas which mathematical aptitude bestows, the 
young student at once conjectured that he saw before him his uncle 
Richard. He had the discretion, however, to leave that gentleman 
free to choose his own time for introducing himself, and silently 
revolved the new thoughts produced by the novelty of his situation. 
.Mr. Richard read with notable quickness— sometimes cutting the 
leaves of the book with his penknife, sometimes tearing them open 
with his forefinger, sometimes skipping whole pages altogether. 
Thus he galloped to the end of the volume — flung it aside— lighted 
his cigar, and uegan to talk. 

He" put many questions to Leonard relative to_ his rearing, and 
especially to the mode by which he had acquired his education; and 
Leonard, confirmed in the idea that he w r as replying to a kinsman, 
answered frankly. 

Richard did not think it strange that Leonard should have acquired 
so much instruction with so little direct tuition. Richard Avenel 
himself had been tutor to himself. He had lived too long with our 
go-ahead brethren, who stride the world on the other side of the 
Atlantic with the seven-leagued boots of the Giant-killer, not to have 
caimht their glorious fever for reading. But it was for a reading 
wholly different from that which was familiar to Leonard. The books 
he read must be new; to read old books would have seemed to him 
going back in the world. He fancied that new books necessarily 
contained new ideas— a common mistake— and our lucky adventurer 
was the man of his day. 

Tired with talking, he at length chucked the book he had run 
through to Leouard, and, taking out a pocket-book and pencil, amused 
himself with calculations on some detail of his business, after which he 
fell into an absorbed train of thought — part pecuniary, part am- 
bitious. . 

Leonard found the book mterestmg ; it was one of the numerous 
works, half-statistic, half-declamatory, relating to the condition of the 
working-classes, which peculiarly distinguish our century, and ought 
to bind together rich ana poor, by proving the grave attention which 
modern society bestows upon all that can affect the welfare of tho 
last,. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LlfJ. 225 

" Dull stuff— theory— claptrap," said Richard, rousing himself from 
his reverie at last ; " it can't interest you." 

"All books interest me, I think," said Leonard, "and this espe 
cially ; for it relates to the -working-class, and I am one of them." 

"You were yesterday, but you mayn't be to-morrow," answered 
Richard, good-humouredly, and patting him on the shoulder. "You 
see, my lad, that it is the middle class which ought to govern the 
country. What the book says about the ignorance of country 
magistrates is very good ; but the man writes pretty considerable 
trash when he wants to regulate the number of hours a free-bora boy 
should work at a factory — only ten hours a day — pooh ! and so lose 
two hours to the nation ! Labour is wealth ; and if we could get men 
to work twenty-four hours a day, we should be just twice as rich. 1 £ 
the march of civilisation is to proceed," continued Richard, loftily, 
"men, and boys too, must not He a-bed doing nothing all night, sir." 
Then, with a complacent tone — "We shall get to the twenty-four 
hours at last ; and, by gad, we must, or we shan't flog the Europeans 
as we do now." 

On arriving at the inn at which Richard had first made acquaintance 
with Mr. Dale, the coach by which he had intended to perform the 
rest of the journey was found to be full. Richard continued to per- 
form the journey in post-chaises, not without some grumbling at the 
expense, and incessant orders to the post-boys to make the best of 
their way. " Slow country this, in spite of all its brag," said he — 
" very slow. Time is money — they know that in the States : for why, 
they are all men of business there. Always slow in a country where 
a parcel of lazy, idle lords, and dukes, and baronets, seem to t hink 
' time is pleasure.' " 

Towards evening the chaise approached the confines of a very large 
*own, and Richard began to grow fidgety. His easy, cavalier air was 
abandoned. He withdrew his legs from the window, out of which 
they had been luxuriously dangling ; pulled down his waistcoat ; 
buckled more tightly his stock ; it was clear that he was resuming 
the decorous dignity that belongs to state. He was like a monarch, 
who, after travelling happy and incognito, returns to his capital. 
Leonard divined at once that they were nearing their journey's end. 

Humble foot-passengers now looked at the chaise, and touched 
their hats. Richard returned the salutation with a nod — a nod less 
gracious than condescending. The chaise turned rapidly to the left, 
and stopped before a small lodge, very new, very white, adorned with 
two Doric columns in stucco, and flanked by a large pair of gates, 
* Hollo ! " cried the post-boy, and cracked his whip. 

Two children were playing before the lodge, ana some clothes were 
hanging out to dry on the shrubs and pales round the neat little 
building. 

"Hang those brats! they are actually playing," growled Dick. 
" As I live, the jade has been washing again ! Stop, boy." During 
this soliloquy, a good-looking young woman had rushed from the door 
— slapped the children as, catching sight of the chaise, tliey rasa 
towards the house — opened the gates, and, dropping a curtsey to the 
ground, seemed to wish that she could drop into it altogether, so 

vo 1 T 



896 MX hovel ; ok, 

frightened and so trembling seemed she to shrink from the wrathfiu 
face which the master now put out of the window. 

" Did I tell you, or did I not," said Dick, " that I would not have 
those horrid, disreputable cubs of yours playing just before my lodge- 
gates?" 

" Please, sir " 

_ " Don't answer me. And did I tell you, or did I not, that the next 
time I saw you making: a drying-ground of my lilacs, you should go 
out, neck and crop " 

" Oh, please, sir " 

" You leave my lodge next Saturday ! drive on, boy. The ingra- 
titude and insolence of those common people are disgraceful to human 
nature," muttered Richard, with an accent of the bitterest mis- 
anthropy. 

The chaise wheeled along the smoothest and freshest of gravel 
roads, and through fields of the finest land, in the highest state of 
cultivation.^ Rapid as was Leonard's survey, his rural eye detected 
the signs of a master in the art agronomial. Hitherto he had con- 
sidered the Squire's model farm as the nearest approach to good hus- 
bandry he had seen ; for Jackeymo's finer skill was developed rather 
on the minute scale of market-gardening than what can fairly be called 
husbandry. But the Squire's farm was degraded by many old- 
fashioned notions, and concessions to the whim of the eye, which 
would not be found in model farms now-a-days — large tangled hedge- 
rows, which, though they constitute one of the beauties most pictu- 
resque in old England, make sad deductions from produce ; great 
trees, overshadowing the corn, and harbouring the birds ; little 
patches of rough sward left to waste- and angles of woodland 
running into fields, exposing them to rabbits, and blocking out the 
sun, — these and such-like blots on a gentleman-farmer's agriculture, 
common-sense and Giacomo had made clear to the acute comprehen- 
sion of Leonard. No such faults were perceptible in Richard Avenel' s 
domain. The fields lay in broad divisions, the hedges were clipped 
and narrowed into their proper destination of mere boundaries. Not 
a blade of wheat withered under the cold shade of a tree : not a yard 
of land lay waste ; not a weed was to be seen, not a thistle to waft its 
baleful seed through the air : some young plantations were placed, not 
where the artist would put them, but just where the farmer wanted a 
fence from the wind. Was there no beauty in this? Yes, there was 
beauty of its kind — beauty at once recognisible to the initiated — 
beauty of use and profit — beauty that could bear a monstrous high 
rent. And Leonard uttered a cry of admiration which thrilled through 
the heart of Richard Avenel. 

" This is farming ! " said the villager. 

" Well, I guess it is," answered Richard, all his ill-humour vanish - 
m". " You should have seen the land when I bought it. But we 
new men, as they call us (damn their impertinence) are the new 
blood of this country." 

Richard Avenel never said anything more true. Long may the 
V-w blood circulate through the veins of the mighty giantess ; but 

;' tie grand heart be tie same as it has beat for proud ages. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LTFE. 22 

Fhc chaise now passed through a pretty shrubbery, and the house 
came into gradual view— a house with a portico — all the offices care- 
fully thrust out of sight. 

The postboy dismounted, and rang the bell. 

" I almost think they are going to keep me waiting," said Mi, 
Richard, well-nigh in the very words of Louis XIV. 

But that fear was not realised — the door opened ; a well-fed ser- 
vant out of livery presented himself. There was no hearty welcom- 
ing smile on his face, but he opened the chaise-door with demure and 
taciturn respect. 

" Where's George ? why does not he come to the door ? " asked 
Richard, descending from the chaise slowly, and leaning on the ser- 
vant's outstretched arm with as much precaution as if he had had the 
gout. 

Fortunately, George here came into sight, settling himself hastily 
kito his livery-coat. 

" See to the things, both of you," said Richard, as he paid the 
post-boy. 

Leonard stood on the gravel sweep, gazing at the square white 
house. 

"Handsome elevation — classical, I take it — eh ? " said Richard, 
joining him. "But you should see the offices." 

He then, with familiar kindness, took Leonard by the arm, and 
drew him within. He showed him the hall, with a carved mahogany 
stand for hats ; he showed him the drawing-room, and pointed out 
all its beauties — though it was summer, the drawing-room looked 
cold, as will look rooms newly furnished, with walls newlv papered, 
in houses newly built. The furniture was handsome, and suited to 
the rank of a rich trader. There was no pretence about it, and there- 
fore no vulgarity, which is more than can be said for the houses oi 
many an honourable Mrs. Somebody in Mayfair, with rooms twelve 
feet square, chokeful of buhl, that would have had its proper place in 
i he Tuileries. Then Richard showed him the library, with mahogany 
book-cases and plate glass, and the fashionable authors handsomely 
hound. Your new men are much better friends to living authors than 
'our oL I families who live in the country, and at most subscribe to a 
nook-club. Then Richard took him up-stairs, and led him through 
'he bed-rooms— all very clean and comfortable, and with every 
modern convenience; and, pausing in a very pretty single-gentle- 
man's chamber, said, " This is your den. And now, can you guess 
who I am ? " 

" No one but my uncle Richard could be so kind," answered 
Leonard. 

But the compliment did not flatter Richard. He <*iz "xtremely 
disconcerted and disappointed. He had hoped tha. '— should be 
taken for a lord at least, forgetful of all that he had said in disparage- 
ment of lords. 

"Pish i" said he at last, biting his lip — " so you don't think that I 
look like a gentleman ? Come, now, speak honestly." 

Leonard, wonderingly, saw he had given pain, and, with the good- 
breeding which comes instinctively from good-nature, replied — "1 

o2 



828 MY NOVEL; OR, 

judge you by your neart, sir, and your likeness to my grandfather— 
otherwise I should never have presumed to fancy we could be rela. 
tions." 

" Hum ! " answered Richard. " You can just wash your hands, and 
then come down to dinner ; you will hear the gong in ten minutes, 
There's the bell — ring for what you want." 

"With that he turned on hi6 heel ; and, descending the stairs, gave 
a look into the dining-room, and admired the plated salver on the 
sideboard, and the king's-pattern spoons and forks on the table. 
Then he walked to the looking-glass over the mantel-piece; and, 
wishing to survey the whole effect of his form, mounted a chair. He 
was just getting into an attitude which he thought imposing, when 
the butler ente ed, and, being London-bred, had the discretion to try 
to escape unseen ; but Richard caught sight of him in the looking- 
glass, and coloured up to the temples. 

" Jarvis " said he, mildly — " Jarvis, put me in mind to have these 
inexpressibles altered." 



CHAPTER HI. 

Apropos of the inexpressibles, Mr. Richard did net forget to pro- 
vide his nephew with a much larger wardrobe than could have been 
thrust into Dr. Riccabocca's knapsack. There was a very good tailor 
in the town, and the clothes were very well made. And, but for an 
air more ingenuous, and a check that, despite study and night vigils, 
retained much of the sunburnt bloom of the rustic, Leonard Fairfield 
might now have almost passed, without disparaging comment, by the 
bow-window at White's. Richard burst into an immoderate fit of 
laughter when he first saw the watch wliich the poor Italian had be- 
stowed upon Leonard ; but to atone for the laughter, he made him a 
present of a very pretty substitute, and bade him " lock up his 
turnip." Leonard was more hurt by the jeer at his old patron's gift 
than pleased by his uncle's. But Richard Avenel had no conception 
of sentiment. It was not ior many days that Leonard could recon- 
cile himself to his uncle's manner. Not that the peasant could pre- 
tend to judge of its mere conventional defects ; but there is an ill- 
breeding to which, whatever our rank and nurture, we are almost 
equally sensitive — the ill-breeding that comes from want of considera- 
tion for others. Now, the Squire was as homely in his way as Richard 
Avenel, but the Squire's bluntness rarely hurt the feelings; and 
when it did so, the Squire perceived and hastened to repair his 
blunder. But Mr. Richard, whether kind or cross, was always 
wounding you in some little delicate fibre-^-not from malice, but from 
the absence of any little delicate fibres of his own. He was really, in 
many respects, a most excellent man, and certainly a very valuable 
litizen. But his merits wanted the fine tints and fluent curves that 
constitute beauty of character. He was honest, but sharp in his 
practice, and with a keen eye to his interests. He was jutf, bit as 3 



VARIETIES IV ENGLISH LO>E. 229 

matter of business. He made no allowances, and did not leave to Lis 
justice the large margin of tenderness and mercy. He was generous, 
hut rather from an idea of what was due to himself than with much 
thought of the pleasure he gave to others; and he even regarded 
generosity as a capital put out to interest. He expected a great deal 
of gratitude in return, and, whenhe obliged a man, considered thai; 
he had bought a slave. Every needy voter knew where to come, if 
he war ted relief or a loan ; but woe to him if he had ventured to ex • 
press hesitation when Mr. Avenel told him how he must vote. 

In this town Richard had settled after his return from America, in 
which country he had enriched himself — first, by spirit and industry 
—lastly, by bold speculation and good luck. He invested his fortune 
iii business — became a partner in a large brewery — soon bought out 
his associates — and then took a principal share in a flourishing corn- 
mill. He prospered rapidly — bought a property of some two or three 
hundred acres, built a house, and resolved to enjoy himself, and make 
a figure. He had now become the leading man of the town, and the 
boast to Audley Egerton that he could return one of the members, 
perhaps both, was by no means an exaggerated estimate of his power. 
Nor was his proposition, according to his own views, so unprincipled 
as it appeared to the statesman. He had taken a great dislike to 
both the sitting members — a dislike natural to a sensible man of 
moderate politics, who had something to lose. For Mr. Slappe, the 
active member — who was head-over-ears in debt — was one of the 
furious democrats rare -before the Reform Bill — and whose opinions 
were held dangerous even by the mass of a Liberal constituency ; 
while Mr. Sleekie, the gentleman member, who laid by £5,000 every 
year from his dividends in the Funds, was one of those men whom 
Richard justly pronounced to be " humbugs" — men who curry favour 
with the extreme party by voting for measures sure not to be carried ; 
while, if there was the least probability of coming to a decision that 
would lower the money-market, Mr. Sleekie was seized with a weil - 
timed influenza. Those politicians are common enough now. Pro- 
pose to march to the Millennium, and they are your men. Ask them 
to march a quarter of a mile, and they tall to feeling their pockets, 
and trembling for fear of the footpads. They are never so joyful as 
when there is no chance of a victory. Did they beat the Minister, 
they would be carried out of the house in a fit. 

_ Richard Avenel — despising both these gentlemen, and not taking 
kindly to the Whigs since the great Whig leaders were lords — had 
looked with a friendly eye to the Government as it then existed, and 
especially to Audley Egerton, the enlightened representative 01 com- 
merce. But in giving Audley and his colleagues the benefit of his 
influence, through conscience, he thought it all fair and right to have 
a quid pro quo, and, as he had so frankly confessed, it was his whim 
to rise up " Sir Richard." For this worthy citizen abused the aris- 
tocracy much on the same principle as the fair Olivia depreciated 
Squire Thomhill — he had a sneaking affection for what he abused. 
The society of Screwstown was, like most provincial capitals, com- 
cosed of two classes — the commercial and the exclusive. These last 
uwelt chiefly apart, around the ruins of an old abbey ; they affected 



MO UT KC7E1; OS, 

its antiquity in their pedigrees, and had much of its ruin in then 
finances. Widows of rural thanes in the neighbourhood— genteel 
/pinsters — officers retired on half-pay — younger sons of rich squires, 
who had now become old bachelors — in short, a very respectable, 
proud, aristocratic set — who thought more of themselves than do all 
the Gowers and Howards, Courtenays and Seymours put together. 
It had early been the ambition of Richard Avenel to be admitted into 
this sublime coterie ; and, strange to say, he had partially succeeded. 
He was never more happy than when he was aslced to their card- 
parties, and never more unhappy than when he was actually there. 
Various circumstances combined to raise Mr. Avenel into this elevated 
society. First, he was unmarried, still very handsome, and in that 
society there was a large proportion of unwedded females. Secondly, 
he was the only rich trader in Screwstown who kept a good cook, 
?.nd professed to give dinners, and the half-pay captains and colonels, 
swallowed the host for the sake of the venison. Thirdly, and prin- 
cipally, all these exclusives abhorred the two sitting members, and 
"idem nolle idem velle de republicd. ea firma amicitia est;" that is, 
Congeniality in politics pieces porcelain and crockery together better 
than the best diamond cement. The sturdy Richard Avenel— who 
val ued himself on American independence — held these ladies and gentle- 
men in an awe that was truly Branminical. Whether it was that, in Eng- 
land, all notions, even of liberty, are mixed up historically, traditionally, 
socially, with that fine and subtle element of aristocracy which, like 
the press, is the air we breathe ; or whether Richard imagined that 
he really became magnetically imbued with the virtues of these silver 
pennies and gold seven-shilling pieces, distinct from the vulgar coin- 
age in popular use, it is hard to say. But the truth must be told — 
Richard Avenel was a notable tuft-hunter. He had a great longing 
to marry out of this society, but he had not yet seen any one suffi- 
ciently high-born and high-bred to satisfy his aspirations. In the 
meanwhile, he had convinced himself that his way would be smooth 
could he offer to make his ultimate choice "My Ladj' :" and he felt 
that it would be a proud hour in his life when he could walk before 
stiff Colonel Pompfey to the sound of " Sir Richard." Still, however 
disappointed at the iD success of his bluff diplomacy with Mr. Egerton, 
and however yet cherishing the most vindictive resentment against 
that individual — he did not, as many would have done, throw up his 
political convictions out of personal spite. He reserved his private 
grudge for some special occasion, and continued still to support the 
Administration, and to hate one of the Ministers. 

But, duly to appreciate the value of Richard Avenel, and in just 
counterpoise to all his foibles, one ought to have seen what he had 
effected^ for the town. Well might he boast of " new blood ;" he had 
done as much for the town as he had for his fields. His energy, his 
q-iick comprehension of public utility, backed by his wealth, and bcld, 
b'dlying, imperious character, had sped the work of civilization as if 
■with the celerity and force of a steam-engine. 

If the town were so well paved and so well lighted — if half a 
fj-isen squalid lanes had been transformed into a stately street — if half 
fcye town no longer depended ou tanks for their water— jf the poor- 



TAMMIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. j,Si 

rates were reduced one-third, praise to the brisk new blood which 
Richard Avenel had infused into vestry and corporation. And his 
example itself was so contagious ! " There was not a plate-glass 
window in the town when I came into it," said Richard Avenel ; " and 
now look down the High Street ! " He took the credit to himself, 
and justly ; for, though his own business did not require windows of 
plate-glass, he had awakened the spirit of enterprise which adorns a 
whole city. 

Mr. Avenel did not present Leonard to his friends for more than a 
fortnight. He allowed him to wear off his rust. He tnen gave a 
grand dinner, at which his nephew was formally introduced, and, to 
his great wrath and disappointment, never opened his lips. How 
could he, poor youth, when Miss Clarina Mowbray only talked upon 
high life ; till proud Colonel Pompley went in state through the 
historv of the Siege of Seringapatam ? 



CHAPTER IV. 

While Leonard accustoms himself gradually to the splendours 
that surround him, and often turns with a sigh to the remembrance 
of his mother's cottage and the sparkling fount in the Italian's flowery 
garden, we will make with thee, reader, a rapid flight to the metro- 
polis, and drop ourselves amid«t the gay groups that loiter along the 
dusty ground, or loll over the roadside palings of Hvde Park. The 
season is still at its height ; but the short day of fashionable London 
life, which commences two hours after noon, is in its decline. The 
crowd in Rotten Row begins to thin. Near the statue of Achilles, 
and apart from all other loungers, a gentleman, with one hand thrust 
into his waistcoat, and the other resting on his cane, gazed listlessly 
on the horsemen and carriages in the brilliant ring. He was still in 
the prime of life, at the age when man is usually the most social — 
when the acquaintances of youth have ripened into friendships, and a 
personage of some rank and fortune has become a well-known feature 
m the mobile face of society. But though, when his contemporaries 
were boys scarce at college, this gentleman had blazed foremost 
amongst the princes of fashion, and tnough he had all the qualities of 
nature and circumstance which either retain fashion to the last, or 
exchange its false celebrity for a graver repute, c.3 stood as a stranger 
in that throng of his countrymen. Beauties wiirled by to the toilet 
— statesmen passed on to the senate — dandies took flight to the clubs ; 
and neither nods, nor becks, nor wreathed smiles said to the solitary 
spectator, " Follow us — thou art one of our set." Now and then, some 
middle-aged beau, nearing the post of the loiterer, turned round to 
look again ; but the second glance seemed to dissipate the recognition 
of the first, and the beau silently continued his way. 

"By the tombs of my fathers!" said the solitary to himself, "1 
know now what a dead man might feel if he came to life again, and 
took a peep at the living." 



S32 MY KOVEL, Oil. 

Time passed on— the evening shades descended fast. Our stranger 
; " London had wo'i-nigh the Park to himself. He seemed to breathe 
.uiore freely as he saw that the space was so clear. 

" There's oxvgen in the atmosphere now," said he, half aloud ; " and 
I can walk without breathing in the gaseous fumes of the multitude. 
those chemists— what dolts they are ! They tell us that crowds 
taint the air, but they never guess why ! Pah, it is not the lungs 
that poison the element — it is the reek of bad hearts. When a peri- 
wig-pated fellow breathes on me, I swallow a mouthful of care. 
Allons ! my friend Nero ; now for a stroll." He touched with his 
cane a large Newfoundland dog, who lay stretched near his feet ; and 
dog and man went slow through the growing twilight, and over the 
brown dry turf. At length our solitary paused, and threw himself 
on a bench under a tree. " Half-past eight ! " said he, looking at 
his watch — " one may smoke one's cigar without shocking the 
World." 

He took out his cigar-case, struck a light, and in another moment, 
reclined at length on the bench — seemed absorbed in regarding the 
smoke, that scarce coloured, ere it vanished into the air. 

" It is the most barefaced lie in the world, my Nero," said he, ad- 
dressing his dog, " this boasted liberty of man ! Now, here am I, a 
free-born Englishman, a citizen of the world, caring — I often say to 
myself — caring not a jot for Kaisar or Mob; and yet I no more dare 
smoke this cigar in the Park at half-past six, when all the world is 
abroad, than I dare pick my Lord Chancellor's pocket, or hit the 
Archbishop of Canterbury a thump on the nose. Yet no law in 
England forbids me my cigar, Nero ! What is law at half-past eight 
was not crime at six and a half! Britannia says, 'Man, thou art 
free/ and she lies like a commonplace woman. Nero, Nero ! you 
enviable dog ! — you serve but from liking. No thought of the world 
costs you one wag of the tail. Your big heart and true instinct suffice 
you for reason and law. You would want nothing to your felicity, if 
in these moments of ennui you would but smoke a cigar. Try it, 
Nero ! — try it !" And, rising from his incumbent posture, he sought 
to force the end of the weed oetween the teeth of the dog. 

While thus gravely engaged, two figures had approached the place. 
The one was a man who seemed weak and sickly: his threadbare 
coat was buttoned to the chin, but hung large on his shrunken breast. 
The other was a girl, who might be from twelve to fourteen, on whose 
arm he leant heavily : her cheek was wan, and there was a patient 
sad look on her face, which seemed so settled that you would think 
she could never have known the mirthfulness of childhood. 

" Pray rest here, papa," said the child softly ; and she pointed to 
Ihe bench, without taking heed of its pre-occupant, who now, indeed, 
confined to one corner of the seat, was almost hidden by the shadow 
of the tree. 

The man sate down, with a feeble sigh ; and then, observing the 
stranger, raised his hat, and said, in that tone of voice which betrays 
the usages of polished society, "Porgive me, if I intrude on you, sir*." 

The stranger looked up from his dog, and seeing that the girl wns 
rtandinsr, rose at once, as if to make room for her on the bench. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH Lll't. Vi'y 

Bu'. still the girl did not heed him. She hung over her father, and 
wiped his brow tenderly with a little kerchief which she took from 
ner own neck for the purpose. 

Juto, delighted to escape the cigar, had taken to some unwieldy 
nurvets and gambols, to vent the excitement into which he had been 
thrown ; and now returnins 1 , approached the bench with a low growi 
of surprise, and sniffed at the intruders of his master's privacy. 

" Come here, sir," said the master. " You need net fear biro," 
he added, addressing himself to the girl. 

But the girl, without turning round to him, cried in n voice rather 
of anguish than alarm, " He has fainted! Father ! father ! " 

The stranger kicked aside his dog, which was in the way, and 
loosened the poor man's stiff military si ock. "While thus charitably 
engaged, the moon broke out, and the light fell full on the pale care- 
worn face of the unconscious sufferer. 

" Tins face seems not unfamiliar to me, though sadly changed,'" 
said the stranger to himself; and bending towards the girl, who had 
sunk on her knees, and was chafing her father's hands, he asKed, 
" My child, what is your father's name?" 

The child continued her task, too absorbed to answer. 

The stranger put his hand on her shoulder, and repeated the 
question. 

" Digby," answered the child, almost unconsciously ; and as she 
spoke, the man's senses began to return. In a few minutes more he 
had sufficiently recovered to falter forth his thanks to the stranger. 
But the last took Ms hand, and said, in a voice at once tremulous- 
and soothing, " Is it possible that I see once more an old brother in 
arms ? Algernon. Digby, I do not forget you ; but it seems England 
has forgotten." 

A hectic flush spread over the soldier's face, and he looked away 
from the speaker as he answered — 

" My name is Digby, it is true, sir ; but I do not think we have 
met before. Come, Helen, I am well now — we will go home." 

" Try and play with that great dog, my child," said the stranger, — 
" I want to talk with your father." 

The child bowed her submissive head, and moved away ; but she 
did not play with the dog. 

" I must reintroduce myself formally, I see," quoth the sti anger. 
" You were in the same regiment with myself, and my name is 
JKstrange." 

" My lord," said the soldier, rising, " forgive me that " 

"' I don't think that it was the fashion to call me ' my lord ' at the 
mess-table. Come, what has happened to you ? — on half-pay ?" 

Mr. Digby shook his head mournfully. 

" Digby, old fellow, can you lend me £100 ?" said Lord L'Estrange, 
:lapping his ci-devant brother officer on the shoulder, and in a tone of. 
voice that seemed Like a boy's — so impudent was it, and devil-me- 
carish. " No ! Well, tLat's lucky, for I can lend it to you." 

Mr. Digby burst into tears. 

Lord L'Estrange did not «eem to observe the emotion, but weni' 



2M riLi XOMJL; 03, 

" Perhaps you don't know that, besides being heir to a father who 
is net only very rich but very liberal, I inheiited, on coming of age, 
from a maternal relation, a fortune so large that it would bore me to 
death if I were obliged to live up to it. But in the days of our old 
acquaintance, I fear we were both sad extravagant fellows, and 1 
dare sav I borrowed of you pretty freely." 

" Me ! Oh, Lord L'Estrange ! " 

" You have married since then, and reformed, I suppose. Tell me, 
old friend, all about it." 

Sir. Digby, who by this time had succeeded in restoring seme calm 
to his shattered nerves, now rose, and said in brief sentences, but 
clear firm tones, — 

" My Lord, it is idle to talk of me — useless to help me. I am last 
dying. But, my child there, my only child," he paused for an instant, 
and went on rapidly — " I have relations in a distant county, if I could 
but get to them — I think they would, at least, provide for her. This 
lias been for weeks my hope, my dream, my prayer. I cannot afford 
the journey except by your help. I have begged without shame for 
myself; shr-Ll I be ashamed, then, to beg for her ?" 

" Digby," said L'Estrange. with some grave alteration of manner, 
" talk neither of dying nor begging. You were nearer death when 
the balls whistled round you at Waterloo. If soldier meets soldier 
and says, ' Friend, thy purse,' it is not begging, but brotherhood. 
Ashamed ! By the soul of Belisarius ! if I needed money, I would 
stand at a crossing with my Waterloo medal over my breast, and say 
to each sleek citizen I had helped to save from the sword of the 
Frenchman, ' It is your shame if I starve.' Now, lean upon me; I 
see you should be at home — which way ? " 

The poor soldier pointed his hand towards Oxford-street, and 
reluctantly accepted the proffered arm. 

"And when you return from your relations, yon will call on me ? 
What ! — hesitate ? Come, promise." 

"I will." 

" On your honour." 

" If I live, on my honour. 

" I am staying at present at Knightsbridge, with my father ; but 
ou will always hear of my address at No. — Grosvenor-square, 
Mr. Egerton's. So you have a long journey before you ?" 

"Very long." 

" Do not fatigue yourself— travel slowly. Ho, you foolish child ! 
— I see you are jealous of me. Your father has another arm to spare 

you." 

Thus talking, and getting but short answers, Lord L'Estrange 
continued to exhibit. tLose whimsical peculiarities of character, which 
had obtained for him the repute of heartlessnees in the world. 
Perhaps the reader may think the world was not in the right. But 
if ever the world does judge rightly of the character of a man who 
does not live for the world, nor talk for the world, nor feel with 
the worki, it will be centuries after the soul of Harley L'Estrange 
has done with this planet. 



5 



VASISTIX3 IK ENGLISH U3%. **5 



CHAPTER V 

Lord L'Estsaxge parted company with Mr. Digby at the entrant, 
of Oxford-street. The father ana child there took a cabriolet. Mr. 
Digby directed the driver to go down the Edgeware-road. He 
refused to tell L'Estrange his address, and this with such evident 
pain, from the sores of pride, that L'Estrange coul.1 not press the. 
point. Reminding the soldier of his promise to call, Harley thrust 
a pocket-book into his hand, and walked off hastily towards G.-osvenor- 
square. 

He reached Audley Egerton's door just as that gentleman was 
getting out of his carriage ; and the two friends entered the house 
together. 

(( "Does the nation take a nap to-night?" asked L'Estrange. 
"Poor old lady! She hears so much of her affairs, that she may 
well boast of her constitution : it must be of iron." 

"The House is still sitting," answered Audley, seriously, and wiih 
smah heed of his friend's witticism. " But it "is not a Government 
motion, and the division will be late, so I came home; and if I 
had not found you here, I should have gone into the P;trk to look for 
you." 

" Yes— one always knows where to find me at this hour, 9 o'clock 
p.m.— cigar— Hyde Park. There is not a man in England so regular 
in his habits." 

Here the friends reached a drawing-room in which the Member of 
Parliament seldom sat, for his private apartments were all on tha 
ground-floor. 
" But it is the strangest whim of yours, Harley," said he. 

;;what?" 

" To affect detestation of ground-floors." 

"Affect! soplristicated man, of the earth, ear'iy! Affects- 
nothing less natural to the human soul than a ground-hor<r. We are 
quite far enough from heaven, mount as many stairs as we will, 
without grovelling by preference." 

u "According to that symbolical view of the case," said Audley, 
'you should lodge in an attic." 

" So I would, but that I abhor new slippers. As for hair-brines, 
l am different." 

" What have slippers and hair-brushee to do with attics r" 

" Try ! Make your bed in an attic, and the next moni".g you will 
have neither slippers nor hair-brushes ! " 

"What shall I have done with them?" 

" Shied them at the cats ! " 

" What odd things you say, Harley ! " 

" Odd ! By Apollo and his nine spinsters ! there is no human 
being who has so little imagination as a disting;ushed member of 
Parliament. Answer me this, thou solemn B':,nt Honourable, — 
Hast thou climbed to the heights of august ccntemplation P Hast 



23G oa, 

thou gazed on the stare with the rapt eye of song? Hast tliou 
(U-camed. of a love known to the angels, or sought to seize in the- 
Infinite the mystery of life?" 

" Not I indeed, my poor Harley." 

" Tiien no wonder, poor Audley, that you cannot conjecture wh^ 
he who makes his bed in an attic, disturbed by base catterwauls, shies 
his slippers at cats. Bring a chair into the balcony. Nero spoiled 
my cigar to-night. I am going to smoke now. You never smoke. 
You can look on the shrubs in the square." 

Audley slightly shrugged his shoulders, but he followed his friend's 
counsel and example, and brought his chair into the balcony. Nero 
came too, but at sight and smell of the cigar prudently retreated, 
and took refuge under the table. 

" Audley Egerton, I want something from Government." 

" I am delighted to hear it." 

"There was a cornet in my regiment, who would have done bettej 
not to have come into it. We were, for the most part of us, puppies 
and fops." 

"You all fought well, however." 

" Puppies and fops do fight well. Vanity and valour generally go 
together. Caesar, who scratched his head with due care of his scanty- 
curls, and, even, in dying, thought of the folds in his toga; Walter 
Tlaleigh, who could not walk twenty yards, because of the gems in 
his shoes ; Alcibiades, who lounged into the Agora with doves in his 
bosom, and an apple in his hand ; Murat, bedizened in gold lace and 
furs ; and Demetrius, the City-Taker, who made himself up like 
a French Marguke — were all pretty good fellows at fighting. A 
slovenly hero like Cromwell is a paradox in nature, and a marvel 
in history. But to return to my cornet. We were rich ; he was 
poor. When the pot of clay swims down the stream with the brass 
pots, it is sure of a smash. Men said Digby was stingy; I saw he 
was extravagant. But every one, I fear, would be rather thought 
stingy than poor. Bref. — I left the army, and saw him no more till 
to-night. There was never shabby poor gentleman on the stage more 
awfully shabby, more pathetically gentleman. But, look ye, this man 
lias fought for England. It was no child's play at Waterloo, let me 
tell you, Mr. Egerton; and, but for such men, you would be at 
oest a sous-prefei, and your Parliament a Provincial Assembly. You 
must do sometliing for Digby. What shall it be ?" 

" AVhy, really, my dear Harley, this man was no great friend cf 
yours — eh?" 

" If he were, he would not want the Government to help him — he 
would not be ashamed of taking money from me." 

" That is all very fine, Harley ; but there are so many poor officers, 
and so little to give. It is the most difficult thing in the world that 
which you ask me. Indeed, I know nothing can be done : he has his 
half-pay?" 

'' I think not ; or, if he Las it, no doubt it all goes on his debU, 
That's nothing to us : the man and his child are starving." 

" But if it is his own fault,— if he has been imprudent? " 

" Ah — well, well. Where the devil is Nero ? " 



»AiUimES IN 3SJSUUSH LIF3. 237 

" I an> so sorry I can't oblige you. If it were anything else- 



" There is something else. My valet — I can't turn him adrift — 
excellent fellow, but gets drunk now and then. Will you find him a 
place in the Stamp-office ? " 

" With pleasure." 

" No, now I think of it — the man knows my ways : I must keep 
him. But my old wine-merchant — civil man, never dunned — is a 
bankrupt. I am under obligations to him, and he has a very pretty 
daughter. Do you think you could thrust him into some small place 
in the Colonies, or make him a King's Messenger, or something of the 
sort?" 

" If you very much wish it, no doubt I can." 

'"' My dear Audley, I am but feeling my way : the fact is, I want 
something for myself." 

"Ah, that indeed gives me pleasure!" cried Egerton, with ani- 
mation. 

"The mission to Florence will soon be vacant — I know it pri- 
vately. The place would quite suit me. Pleasant city; the best 

iigs in Italy — very little to do. You could sound Lord on the 

subject." 

" I will answer beforehand. Lord would be enchanted to 

secure to the public service a man so accomplished as yourself, 
and the son of a peer like Lord Lansmere." 

Harley L'Estrange sprang to his feet, and flung his cigar in the 
face of a stately policeman who was looking up at the balcony. 

" Infamous and bloodless official ! " cried Harley L'Estrange ; " so 
you could provide for a pimple-nosed lackey, — for a wine-merchant 
who has been poisoning the king's subjects with whitelead or sloe- 
juice, — for an idle sybarite, who would complain of a crumpled rose- 
leaf; and nothing, in all the vt.st patronage of England, for a broken- 
down soldier, whose dauntless breast was her rampart." 

" Harley," said the Member of Parliament, with his calm, sensible 
smile, " this would be a very good clap-trap at a small theatre ; but 
there is nothing in which Parliament demands such rigid economy as 
the military branch of the public service ; and no man for whom it is 
so hard to effect what we must plainly call a job as a subaltern officer 
who has done nothing more than his duty — and all military men do 
that. Still, as you take it so earnestly, I will use what interest 1 
can at the War Office, and get him, perhaps, the mastership of a 
barrack." 

" You had better ; for, if you do not, I swear I will turn TtadicaJ 
Rnd come down to your own city to oppose you, with Hunt and Cobbett 
to canvass for me." 

" I should be very glad to see you come into Parliament, even as a 
Radical, and at my expense," said Audley, with great kindness. 
" But the air is growing cold, and you are not accustomed to our 
climate. Nay, if you are too poetic for catarrhs and rheums, I'm not 
—come in." 



833 KT HOVSl; OS, 



CHAPTER VI. 

Lord L'Estrange threw himself on a sofa, and leant his cheek oe 
his hand thoughtfully. Audley Egerton sate near him, with his arms 
folded, and gazed on his friend's face with a soft expression of aspect, 
which was very unusual to the firm outline of his handsome features. 
The two men were as dissimilar in person as the reader will have 
divined that they were in character. All about Egerton was so rigid, 
all about L'Estrange so easy. In every posture of Harle/s there 
was the unconscious grace of a child. The very fashion of his gar- 
ments showed his abhorrence of restraint. His clothes were wide and 
loose ; his neckcloth, tied carelessly, left his throat half bare. You 
could see that he had lived much in warm and southern lands, and 
contracted a contempt for conventionalities ; there was as little in his 
dress as in his talk of the formal precision of the north. He was three 
or four years younger than Audley, but he looked at least twelve years 
younger. In fact, he was one of those men to whom old age seems 
impossible — voice, look, figure, had all the charm of youth ; and per- 
haps it was from this gracious youthfulness — at all events, it was cha- 
racteristic of the kind of love he inspired— that neither his parents, 
nor the few friends admitted into his intimacy, ever called him, in 
their habitual intercourse, by the name of Ins title. He was not 
L'Estrange with them, he was Harley ; and by that familiar baptismal 
I will usually designate him. He was not one of those men whom 
author or reader wish to view at a distance, and remember as " my 
Lord," — it was so rarely that he remembered it himself. For the rest, 
it had been said of him by a shrewd wit, — " He is so natural, that 
every one calls him affected." Harley L'Estrange was not so criti- 
cally handsome as Audley Egerton ; to a common-place observer he 
was only rather good-looking than otherwise. But women said that 
he had "a beautiful countenance "—and they were not wrong. He 
wore his hair, which was of a fair chestnut, long, and in loose curls : 
and instead of the Englishman's whiskers, indulged in the foreigner's 
moustache. His complexion was delicate, though not effeminate ; it 
was rather the delicacy of a student than of a woman. But in his 
clear grey eye there was wonderful vigour of life. A skilful physi- 
ologist, looking only into that eye, would have recognised rare stamina 
of constitution,— a nature so rich, that, while easily disturbed, it 
would require all the effects of time, or all the fell combinations of 
passion and grief, to exhaust it. Even now, though so thoughtful; 
and even so sad, the rays of that eye were as concentrated and stead- 
fast as the light of the diamond. 

" You were only, then, in jest," said Audley, after a long silence, 
" when you spoke of this mission to Florence ? You have still r. > 
idea of entering into public life?" 

'•'None." 

" 1 had hoped better things when I got your promise to p^sa one 
sr.-ason in London. But, indeed, you have kept your premise to the 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISii LIFE. gyQ, 

ear to break it to the spirit. I could not pre-suppose that you would 
shun all society, and be as much of a hermit here as under the vines 
of Como." 

"I have sate in the Strangers' Gallery, and heard your great speakers , 
I have been in the pit of the opera, and seen your fine ladies"; 1 have 
■walked your streets ; I have lounged in your parks, — and I say that 
I can't fall in love with a faded dowager, because she fills up her wrin- 
Les with ro age." 

" Of what dowager do you speak ? " asked the matter-of-fact 
Audley. 

" She has a great many titles. Some people call her Fashion — you 
busy men, Politics : it is all one— tricked out and artificial. I meant 
London Life. No, I can't fall in love with her, fawning old 
iarridan ! " 

" I wish you could fall in love with something." 

" I wish I could, with all my heart." 

" But you are so blase." 

" On the contrary, 1 sun so fresh. Look out of the window — what 
do you see ? " 

" Nothing." 

" Nothing ! " 

" Nothing but houses and dusty lilacs, my coachman dozing on his 
box, and two women in pattens crossing the kennel." 

" I see not those where I lie on the sofa. I see but the stars. 
And I feel for them as I did when I was a schoolboy at Eton. It is 
you who are blase, and not I. Enough of this. You do not forget my 
commission with respect to the exile who has married into your 
brother's family ? " 

" No ; but here you set me a task more difficult than that of 
saddling your cornet on the War Office." 

" I know it is difficult, for the counter influence is vigilant and 
strong ; but on the other hand, the enemy is so damnable a traitor 
that one must have the Fates and the household gods on one's side." 

" Nevertheless," said the practical Audley, bending over a book on 
the table; "I think that the best plan would be to attempt a com- 
promise with the traitor." 

" To judge of others by myself," answered Harley, with spirit, " it 
were less bitter to put up with wrong than to palter with it for com- 
pensation. And such wrong ! Compromise with the open foe — that 
may be done with honour ; but with the perjured friend — that were 
to torgive the perjury !" 

" You are too vindictive," said Egerton ; " there may be excuses 
for the friend, which palliate even " 

" Hush ! Audley, hush ! or 1 shall think the world has indeed 
corrupted you. Excuse for the friend who deceives, who betray3 ] 
No, such is the true outlaw of Humanity ; and the Furies surround 
him even while he sleeps in the temple." 

The man of the world lifted his eyes slowly on the aaimated face- of 
one still natiu'al enough for the passions. He then once xbok- 
returned to his book, and said, after a pause, " It is time yea shed;! 
E^rr/, Hs'ley." 



SiO 



S1Y NOVEL; 0&, 



" No," answered L'Estrange, with a smile at this sudden turn in 
the conversation — " not time yet ; for my chief objection to that 
change in life is, that the women now-a-days are too old forme, or J 
am too young' for them. A few, indeed, are so infantine that one is 
ashamed to be their toy ; but most are so knowing that one is afraid 
to be their dupe. The first, if they condescended to love you, love 
jou as the biggest doll they have yet dandled, and for a doll's good 
qualities— your pretty blue eyes and your exquisite millinery. The 
last, if they prudently accept you, do so on algebraical principles; 
you are but the X or the Y that represents a certain aggregate of 
goods matrimonial — pedigree, title, rent-roll, diamonds, pin-money, 
opera-box. They cast you up with the help of mamma, and you wake 
some morning to find that pjlus wife minus alfection equals — the 
Devili" 

"Nonsense," said Audley with Ins quiet grave laugh.* "I grant 
that it is often the misfortune of a man in your station to be married 
rather for what he has, than for what he is ; but you are tolerably 
penetrating, and not likely to be deceived in the character of thff 
woman you court." 

" Of the woman I court ? — No ! But of the woman I marry, very 
likely indeed. Woman is a changeable thing, as our Virgil informed 
us at school ; but her change par excellence is from the fairy you woo 
to the brownie you wed. It is not that she has been a hypocrite, it is 
that she is a transmigration. You marry a girl for her accomplish- 
ments. She paints charmingly, or plays like St. Cecilia. Clap a ring 
on her finger, and she never draws again — except perhaps your carica- 
ture on the back of a letter, and never opens a piano alter the honey- 
moon. You marry her for her sweet temper ; and next year, her nerves 
are so shattered that you can't contradict her but you are whirled 
into a storm of hysterics. You marry her because she declares she 
hates balls and likes quiet; and ten to one but what she becomes a 
patroness at Almack's, or a lady-in-waiting." 

" Yet most men marry, and most men survive the operation." 

" If it were only necessary to live, that would be a consolatory 
and encouraging reflection. But to live with peace, to live with 
dignity, to live with freedom, to live in harmony with your thoughts, 
your habits, your aspirations — and this in the perpetual companion- 
ship of ci person to whom you have given the power to wound your 
peace, to assail your dignity, to cripple your freedom, to jar on each 
thought and each habit, and bring you down to the meanest details of 
earth, when you invite her, poor soul, _ to soar to the spheres — that 
.makes the To Be or Not To Be, which is the question." 

" If I were you, Harley, I would do as I have heard the author of 
Sandford and Merton did — choose out a child and educate her yourself, 
after your own heart." 

" You have hit it," answered Harley, seriously. " That has long 
been my idea— a very vague one, I confess. But I fear I shall be an 
old man before I find even the child. 

"Ah !" he continued, yet more earnestly, while the whole character 
of his varying countenance changed again — " ah ! if indeed I could 
^isooyer what I seek — one who, with the heart of a child, has the 



VAP.iEIIES IN ENGLISH 1:72. '>%! 

mind of a woman ; one who beholds in nature the variety, tne charm 
the never feverish, ever healthful excitement that others vainly seei 
in the bastard sentimentalities of a life fake with artificial forms 
one who can comprehend, as by intuition, the rich poetry with which 
creation is clothed — poetry so clear to the child when enraptured with 
the flower, or when wondering at the star ! If on me such exquisitt 
companionship were bestowed — why, then — " He paused, sighec 
deeply, and, covering his face with his hand, resumed, in faltering 
accents, — 

"* Bui once — but once only, did such vision of the Beautiful madrf 
Human rise before me — rise amidst ' golden exhalations of the dawn." 
It beggared my life in vanishing. You know only — you only — how — 
how-" 

He bowed his head, and the tears forced themselves through his 
clenched fingers. 

" So Long ago ! " said Audley, sharing his friend's emotion. 
"Years so long and so weary, yet still thus tenacious of a mere 
boyish memory." 

" Away with it, then ! " cried Harley, springing to his feet, ana 
with a laugh of strange merriment. " Your carriage still waits : set. 
me home before you go to the House." 

Then laying his hand lightly on his friend's shoulder, he said, " Is 
it for you, Audley Egerton, to speak sneeringly of boyish memories ? 
What else is it that binds us together ? What else warms my heart 
when I meet you ? What else draws your thoughts from blue-books 
and beer-bills, to waste them on a vagrant like me ? Shake hands. 
Oh, friend of my boyhood ! recollect the oars that we plied and the 
bats that we wielded in the old time, or the murmured talk on tne 
moss-grown bank, as we sate together, building in the summer air 
castles mightier than Windsor. Ah! they are strong ties, those 
boyish memories, believe me ! I remember, as if it were yesterday, 
my translation of that lovely passage in Persius, beginning — let me 
see — ah ! — 

' Quum primum pavido custos muil purpura cernet,' 

that passage on friendship which gushes out so livingly from the 

stern heart of the satirist : And when old complimented me on 

my verses, my eye sought yours. Verily, I now say as then, 

' Nescio quod, certe est quod me tibi temperet astrum.'"* 

Audley turned away his head as he returned the grasp of his 
friend's hand; and while Harley, with his light elastic footstep, 
descended the stairs, Egerton lingered behind, and there was no 
trace of the worldly man upon his countenance when he took his 
place in the carriage by his companion's side. 

Two hours afterwards, weary cries of "Question, question!" 
"Divide, divide!" sank into reluctant silence as Audley Egerton 
rose to conclude the debate— the man of men to speak late at nigh*,. 

* " What was the star I know not, but certainly some star it was that attuned 
me ur.to thee." 

VOL. I. R 



84* MY NOVEL; OB, 

and to impatient benches: a man who would be heard; whom a 
Bedlam broke loose would not have roared down ; with a voice clear 
and sound as a bell, and a form as firmly set on the ground as a 
church-tower. And while, on the dullest of dull questions, Audley 
Egerton thus, not too lively himself, enforced attention, where was 
Harlcy L'Estrange ? Standing alone by the river at Richmond, and 
inurniuring low fantastic thoughts as he gazed on the moonlit tide. 

"When Audley left him at Lome, he had joined his parents, made 
them gay with his careless gaiety, seen the old fashioned folks 
retire to rest, and then— while they, perhaps, deemed him once more 
the hero of ball-rooms and the cynosure of clubs — he drove slowly 
through the soft summer night, amidst the perfumes of many a gar- 
den and many a gleaming chestnut grove, with no other aim before 
him than to reach the loveliest margin of England's loveliest river, at 
the hour when the moon was fullest and the song of the nightingale 
most sweet. And so eccentric a humourist was this man, that I 
believe, as he there loitered — no one near to cry "How affected!" 
or " How romantic ! " — he enjoyed himself more than if he had been 
exchanging the politest "how-d'ye-dos" in the hottest of London 
drawing-rooms, or betting his hundreds on the odd trick, with Lord 
T)e R for his partner. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Leonard had been about six weeks with his uncle, and those 
weeks were well spent. Mr. Richard had taken him to his counting- 
house, and initiated him into business and the mysteries of double 
entry; and ; in return for the young man's readiness and zeal in 
mat tors which the acute trader instinctively felt not exactly to his 
tastes. Richard engaged the best master the town afforded to read 
with his nephew in the evening. This gentleman was the head 
usher of a large school— who had his hours to himself after eight 
o'clock — and was pleased to vary the dull routine of enforced lessons 
by instructions to a pupil who took delightedly — even to the Latin 
grammar. Leonard made rapid strides, and learned more in those 
six weeks than many a clevensh boy does in twice as many months. 
These hours which Leonard devoted to study Richard usually spent 
from home — sometimes at the houses of his grand acquaintances in 
the Abbey Gardens, sometimes in the Reading-Room appropriated 
its those aristocrats. If he stayed at home, it was in company with 
his head clerk, and for the purpose of checking his account-books, 
or looking over the names of doubtful electors. 

Leonard had naturally wished to communicate his altered prospects 

to his old friends, that they, in turn, might rejoice his mother with 

such good tidings. But he had not been two days in the house 

before Richard had strictly forbidden all such correspondence. 

"Look you," said he, "at present we are on an experiment — we 

est see if we like each other. Suppose we don't, you will only 



ViEIETlES IN LXGL13U Lli'E, 24b 

hive raised expectations in your mother which must end in bitter 
disappointment ; and suppose we do, it will be time enough to write 
when something definite is settled. 

" But my mother will be so anxious — " 

" Make your mind easy on that score. I will write regularly to 
Mr. Dale, and he can tell her that you are well and thrivir.g. No 
more words, my man — when I say a thing, I say it." Then, observ- 
ing that Leonard looked blank and dissatisfied, Richard added, with 
a good-humoured smile, " I have my reasons for all this— you shall 
know them later. And I tell you what, — if you do as I bid you, it 
is my intention to settle something handsome on your mother ; but 
if you don't, devil a penny she'll get from me." 

With that, Richard turned on his heel, and in a few moments his 
voice was heard loud in objurgation with some of his people. 

About the fourth week of Leonard's residence at Mr. Avenel's, his 
host began to evince a certain change of manner. He was no longer 
quite so cordial with Leonard, nor _ did he take the same interest in 
his progress. About the same period he was frequently caught by 
the London butler before the looking-glass. He had always oeen a 
smart man in his dress, but he was now more particular. He would 
spoil three white cravats when he went out of an evening, before he 
could satisfy himself as to the tie. He also bought a "Peerage," 
and it became his favourite study at odd quarters of an hour. All 
these symptoms proceeded from a cause, and that cause was — woman. 



CHAPTER VHI. 

The first people at Screwstown were indisputak"""" *he Pompleys. 
Colonel Pompley was grand, but Mrs. Pompley was girder. The 
Colonel was stately in right of his military rank and his services in 
India; Mrs. Pompley was majestic in right of her connections. 
Indeed, Colonel Pompley himself would have been crushed under the 
weight of the dignities which his lady heaped upon him, if he had not 
oeen enabled to prop his position with a "connection" of his own. 
He would never have held his own, nor been permitted to have an 
independent opinion on matters aristocratic, but for the well-sounding 
name of his relations, " the Digbies." Perhaps on the principle tjvX 
obscurity increases the natural size of objects, and is an element of 
the Sublime, the Colonel did not too accurately define his relations 
"the Digbies :" he let it be casually understood that they were the 
Digbies to be found in Debrett. But if some indiscreet Vulgarian (a 
favourite word with both the Pompleys) asked point-blank if he 
meant " my Lord Digby," the Colonel, with a lofty air, answered— 
" The elder branch, sir." No one at Screwstown had ever seen these 
Digbies : they lay amidst the Far — the Recondite — even to the wife 
of Colonel Pompley's bosom. Now and then, when the Colonel 
referred to the lapse of years, and the uncertainty of human affec- 
tions, he would say — " When young Digby and I were boys together " 

R 9 



2M Hi SOTEt; OK, 

and then add with a sigh, " but we shall never meet agaio in this 
world. His family interests secured him a valuable appointment in a 
distant part of the British dominions." Mrs. Pompiey was always 
rather cowed by the Digbies. She could not be sceptical as to this 
connection, for the Colonel's mother was certainly a Digby, and tha 
Colonel impaled the Digby arms. En revanche, as the French say, for 
these marital connections, Mrs. Pompiey had her own favourite 
affinity, which she specially selected from all others when she most 
desired to produce effect; nay, even upon ordinary occasions the 
name rose spontaneously to her lips — the name of the Honourable 
Mrs. M'Catchley. Was the fashion of a gown or cap admired, her 
cousin, Mrs. M'Catchley, had just sent to her the pattern from Paris. 
Was it a question whether the ministry would stand, Mrs. M'Catchley 
was in the secret, but Mrs. Pompiey had been requested not to say. 
Did it freeze, " My cousin, Mrs. M Catchley, had written word that 
the icebergs at the Pole were supposed to be coming this way." Did 
the sun glow with more than usual fervour, Mrs. M'Catchley had in- 
formed her " that it was Sir Henry Halford's decided opinion that it 
was on account of the cholera." The good people knew all that was 
doing at London, at court, in this world — nay, almost in the other- 
through the medium of the Honourable Mrs. M'Catchley. .Mrs. 
M'Catchley was, moreover, the most elegant of women, the wittiest 
creature, the dearest. King George the Fourth had presumed to 
admire Mrs. M'Catchley; but Mrs. M'Catchley, though no prude, let 
him sre that she was proof against the corruptions of a throne. So 
long had the ears oi Mrs. Pompley's friends been filled with the 
renown of Mrs. M'Catchley, that at last Mrs. M'Catchley was secretly 
supposed to be a myth, a creature of the elements, a poetic fiction of 
Mrs. Pompley's. Richard Avenel, however, though oy no means a 
credulous man, was an implicit believer in Mrs. M'Catchley. He had 
learned that she was a widow — an honourable by birth, an honourable 
by marriage — living on her handsome jointure, and refusing offers 
every day that she so lived. Somehow or other, whenever Richard 
Avenel thought of a wife, he thought of the Honourable Mrs. 
M'Catchley. Perhaps that romantic attachment to the fail invisible 
preserved him heartwhole amongst the temptations of Screwstown. 
Suddenly, to the astonishment of the Abbey Gardens, Mrs. M'Catchley 
proved her identity, and arrived at Colonel Pompley's in a handsome 
travelling-carriage, attended by her maid and footman. She had come 
to stay some weeks — a tea-party was given in her honour. Mr. 
Avenel and his nephew were invited. Colonel Pompiey, who kept 
his head clear in the midst of the greatest excitement, had a desire to 
get from the Corporation a lease of a piece of ground adjoining his 
garden, and he no sooner saw Richard Avenel enter, than he caught 
him by the button, and drew him into a quiet corner, in order to 
secure his interest. Leonard, meanwhile, was borne on by the stream, 
till his progress was arrested by a sofa-table at which sate Mrs. 
M'Catchley herself, with Mrs. Pompiey by her side. For, on this 
great occasion the hostess had abandoned her proper post at the 
entrance, and, whether to show her respect to Mrs. M'Catchley, or 
to show Mrs. M'Catchley her well-bred contempt for the people of 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 245 

Screwstown, remained in state by her friend, honouring only the elite 
of the town with introductions to the illustrious visitor. 

Mrs. M'Catchley was a very fine woman — a woman who justified 
Mrs. Pompley's pride in her. Her cheek-bones were rather high, it 
is true, but that proved the purity of her Caledonian descent ; for the 
rest, she had a brilliant complexion, heightened by a soupcon of rouge 
— good eyes and teeth, a showy figure, and all the ladies of Screws- 
town pronounced her dress to be perfect. She might have arrived at 
that age at which one intends to stop for the next ten years, but even 
a Frenchman would not have called her passee — that is, for a widow. 
For a spinster, it would have been different. 

Looking round her with.a glass, which Mrs. Pompley was in the 
habit of declaring that " Mrs. M'Catchley used like an angel," this 
lady suddenly perceived Leonard Fairfield; and his quiet, simple, 
thoughtful air and look so contrasted with the stiff beaux to whom 
she had been presented, that, experienced in fashion as so fine a per- 
sonage must be supposed to be, she was nevertheless deceived into 
whispering to Mrs. Pompley 

" That young man has really an air distingue — who is he ? " 

" Oh," said Mrs. Pompley, in unaffected surprise, " that is the 
nephew of the rich Vulgarian I was telling you of this morning." 

" All ! and you say that he is Mr. Arundel's heir ? " 

" Avenel— not Arundel — my sweet friend." 

" Avenel is not a bad name," said Mrs. M'Catchley. " But is the 
uncle really so rich ? " 

" The Colonel was trying this very day to guess w hat he is worth ; 
but he says it is impossible to guess it." 

"And the young man is his heir ? " 

" It is thought so ; and reading for College, I hear. They say he 
is clever." 

"Present him, my love ; I like clever people," said Mrs. M'Catchley, 
falling back languidly. 

About ten minutes afterwards, Richard Avenel having effected his 
escape from the Colonel, and his gaze being attracted towards the 
sofa-table by the buzz of the admiring crowd, beheld his nephew in 
animated conversation with the long-cherished idol of his dreams. 
A fierce pang of jealousy shot through his breast. His nephew had 
never looked so handsome and so intelligent ; in fact, poor Leonard 
had never before been drawn out by a woman of the world, who had 
learned how to make the most of what little she knew. And, as 
jealousy operates like a pair of bellows on incipient flames, so, at first 
sight of the smile which the fair widow bestowed upon Leonard, the 
heart of Mr. Avenel felt in a blaze. 

He approached with a step less assured than usual, and overhearing 
Leonard's talk, marvelled much at the boy's audacity. Mrs. 
M'Catchley had been speaking of Scotland and the Waverley Novels, 
about which Leonard knew nothing. But he knew Burns, and on 
Burns he grew artlessly eloquent. Bums the poet and peasant; 
Leonard might well be eloquent on him. Mrs. M'Catchley ^ -vas 
mused and pleased with his freshness and naivete, so unlike anything 
she had ever heard or seen, and she drew him on and on till Leonard 



240 Ml' XOVEL; OH, 

fell to quoting: And Richard heard, with lew respect for the senti 
meiit than might be supposed, that 

" Rank is but the gnineastamp, 

Tlie man's the gowd for a' that." 

"AVell!" exclaimed Mr. Avenel. "Pretty piece of politeness to 
tell that to a lady like the Honourable Mrs. M'Catchley. You'll 
excuse him, ma'am." 

"Sir!" said Mrs. M'Catchley startled, and lifting her glass. 
Leonard, rather confused, rose and offered his chair to Richard, who 
dropped into it. The lady, without waiting for formal introduction, 
guessed that she saw the rich uncle. 

" Such a sweet poet — Burns !" said she, dropping her glass. "And 
it is so refreshing to find so much youthful enthusiasm," she added, 
pointing her fan towards Leonard, who was receding fast among the 
crcwd. 

AVell, he is youthful, my nephew— rather green ! " 
"Don't say green!" said Mrs. M'Catchley. Richard blushed 
scarlet, lie was afraid he had committed himself to some expression 
low and shocking. The lady resumed, " Say unsophisticated." 

" A tarnation long word," thought Richard ; but he prudently 
bowed, and held his tongue. 

" Young men now-a-days," continued Mrs. M'Catchley, re-settling 
herself on the sofa, " affect to be so old. They don't dance, and they 
don't read, and thcydou't talk much ; and a great many of them wear 
toupets before they are two-and-twenty ! " 

Richard mechanically passed his hand through his thick curls. But 
he was si ill mute ; he was still ruefully chewing the cud of the epithet 
green. What occult, horrid meaning did the word conyey to ears 
polite ? "Why should he not say "green?" 

" A very hue young man, your nephew, sir," resumed Mrs. 
M'Calehiey. 

Richard grunted. 

" And seems full of talent. Not yet at the University? Will he go 
to Oxford or Cambridge P" 

" I have not made up my mind, yet, if 1 shall send him to the 
University at all." 

"A young man of his expectations!" exclaimed Mrs. M'Catchley, 
artfully. 

"Expectations!" repeated Richard, firing up. "Has he been 
talking to you of his expectations P" 

" No, indeed, sir. But the nephew of the rich Mr. Avenel ! Ah, 
one hears a great deal, you know, of rich people ; it is the penalty of 
yealth, Mr. Avenel!" 

Richard was very much flattered. His crest rose. 

" And they say," continued Mrs. M'Catchley, dropping out her 
yards very slowly, as she adjusted her blonde scarf, "that Mr. Avenel 
jas resolved not to marry." 

" The devil they do, ma'am ! " bolted out Richard, gruffly : and then, 
ashamed of his lapsus lingua, screwed up his lips firmly, and glared ob 
the company with an eye of indignant fire. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 847 

Mrs. M'Catchley observed him over her fan. Richard turned 
abruptly, and she withdrew her eyes modestly, and raised the 
fan. 

" She's a real beauty," said Richard, between his teeth. 

The fan fluttered. 

Five minutes afterwards, the widow and the bachelor seemed so 
much at their ease that Mrs. Pompley — who had been forced to leave 
her friend, in order to receive the Dean's lady — could scarcely believe 
her eyes when she returned to the sofa. 

Now, it was from that evening that Mr. Richard Avenel exhibited 
the change of mood which I have described. And from that evening 
he abstained from taking Leonard with him to any of the parties in 
the Abbey Gardens. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Some days after this memorable soiree, Colonel Pompxey sat alone 
in his study (which opened pleasantly on an old-fashioned garden) 
absorbed in the house Dills. For Colonel Pompley did not leave that 
domestic care to his lady — perhaps she was too grand for it. Colonel 
Pompley with his own sonorous voice ordered the joints, and with his 
own heroic hands dispensed the stores. In justice to the Colonel, I 
must add — at whatever risk of offence to the fair sex — that there was 
not a house at Screwstown so well managed as the Pompley' s : none 
which so successfully achieved the difficult art of uniting economy 
with show. I should despair of conveying to you an idea of the 
extent to which Colonel Pompley made his income go. It was but 
seven hundred a year ; and manv a family contrive to do less upcu. 
three thousand. To be sure, the Pompleys had no children to sponge 
upon them. What they had they spent all on themselves. Neither, 
if the Pompleys never exceeded! their income, did they pretend to 
live much within it. The two ends of the year met at Christmas — 
just met, and no more. 

Colonel Pompley sate at his desk. He was in his well-brushed blue 
coat — buttr .. ^d across his breast — his grey trousers fitted tight to his 
limbs, and fastened under his boots with a link chain. He saved a 
great deal of money in straps. No one ever saw Colonel Pompley ia 
dressing-gown and slippers. He and his house were alike in order- 
always fit to be seen — 

" From morn to noon, from noon to dewy c ve." 

The Colonel was a short compact man, inclined to be stout — wi- h 
a very red face, that seemed not only shaved, but rasped. He wore 
his hair cropped close, except just in front, where it formed what tlie 
hair-dresser called a feather; but it seemed a feather of iron, .so 
stiff and so strong was it. Firmness and precision were emphatically 
.narked on the Colonel's countenance. There was a resolute strain <::■. 
his features, as if he was always employed in making the two en<l» 
meet! 



2*8 MY NOVEL; OIL, 

So he sate before his house-booK, with his steel-pen in his hand, and 
making crosses here and notes of interrogation there. "Mrs. 
M'Catchley's maid," said the Colonel to himself, " must be put upon 
rations. The tea that she drinks ! Good Heavens ! — tea again !" 

There was a modest ring at the outer door. " Too early for a 
visitor!" thought the Colonel. " Perhaps it is the Water-rates." 

The neat man-servant — never seen beyond the offices, save in 
gi-ande tenue, plushed and powdered — entered and bowed. 

"A gentleman, sir, wishes to see you." 

" A gentleman," repeated the Colonel, glancing towards the eioCK. 

" Are you sure it is a gentleman ? " 

The man hesitated. " Why, sir, I ben't exactly sure ; but lie 
speaks like a gentleman. He do say he comes from London to see 
you, sir." 

A long and interesting correspondence was then being held between 
the Colonel and one of his wife's trustees touching the investment of 
Mrs. Pompley's fortune. It might be the trustee — nay, it must be. 
The trustee had talked of running down to see him. 

"Let him come in," said the Colonel, "and when I ring— sand- 
wiches and sherry ?" 

"Beef, sir?" 

" Ham." 

The Colonel put aside his house-book, and wiped his pen. 

In another minute the door opened, and the servant announced 

"Mr. Digby." 

The Colonel's face fell, and he staggered back. 

The door closed, and Mr. Digby stood in the middle of the room, 
leaning on the great writing-table for support. The poor soldier 
looked sicklier and shabbier, and nearer the end of all things in life 
and fortune, than when Lord L'Estrange had thrust the pocket-book 
into his hands. But still the servant showed knowledge of the world 
in calling him gentleman ; there was no other word to apply to him. 

" Sir," began Colonel Pompley, recovering himself, and with great 
solemnity, " I did not expect this pleasure." 

The poor visitor stared round him dizzily, and sank into a chair, 
breathing hard. The Colonel looked as a man only looks upon a poor 
relation, aud buttoned up first one trouser pocket and then 1 lie 
other. 

" I thought you were in Canada," said the Colonel, at last. 

Mr. Digby had now got breath to speak, and he said meekly, " The 
climate would have killed my child, and it is two years since 1 
returned." 

" You ought to have found a very good place in England, to make 
it worth your while to leave Canada." 

" She could not have lived through another winter in Canada— the 
doctor said so." 

" Pooh," quoth the Colonel. ^ 

Mr. Digby drew a long breath. " I would not come to you, Color.e! 
Pompley, while vou could think that I came as a beggar for myself." 



VAUiZTIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 249 

The Colonel's brow relaxed. "A very honourable sentiment, Mr. 
Oigbv." 

"ISio; I have gone through a great deal; but you see, Colonel." 
added the poor relation, with a faint smile, "the campaign is well 
nigh over, and peace is at hand." 
The Colonel seemed touched. 

"Don't talk so, Digby — I don't like it. Sou are younger than 1 
em— nothing more disagreeable than these gloomy views of things. 
You have got enough to live upon, you say — at least so I understand 
you. I am very glad to hear it ; and, indeed, I could not assist you — 
so many claims on me. So it is all very well, Digby." 

" Oh, Colonel Pompley," cried the soldier, clasping his hands, and 
with feverish energy, "I am a suppliant, not for myself, but my child ! 
I have but one — only one — a girl. She has been so good to me. 
She will cost you little. Take her when I die ; promise her a shelter 
— a home. I ask no more. You are my nearest relative. I have no 
other to look to. You have no children of your own. She will be a 
blessing to you, as she has been all upon earth to me ! " 

If Colonel Pompley's face was red in ordinary hours, no epithet 
sufficiently rubicund or sanguineous can express its colour at this 
appeal. " The man's mad," he said, at last, with a tone of astonish- 
ment that almost concealed his wrath — " stark mad ! I take his 
child ! — lodge and board a great, positive, hungry child ! Why, sir, 
many and many a time have I said to Mrs. Pompley, ' 5 Tis a mercy we 
have no children. We could never live in this style if we had chil- 
dren — never make both ends meet.' Child — the most expensive, 
ravenous, ruinous thing in the world — a child." 

" She has been accustomed to starve," said Mr. Digby, plaintively. 
" Oh, Colonel, let me see your wife. Her heart I can touch — she is 
a woman." 

Unlucky father! A more untoward, unseasonable request the 
Fates could not have put into his lips. 

Mrs. Pompley see the Digbies ! Mrs. Pompley learn the condi- 
tion of the Colonel's grand connections ! The Colonel would never 
have been his own man again. At the bare idea, he felt as if he 
could have sunk into the earth with shame. In his alarm he made a 
stride to the door, with the intention of locking it. Good heavens, 
if Mrs. Pompley should come in ! And the man, too, had been 
announced by name. Mrs. Pompley might have learned already that 
a Digby was with her husband — she might be actually dressing to 
receive him worthily — there was not a moment to lose. 

The Colonel exploded. " Sir, I wonder at your impudence. See 
Mrs. Pompley ! Hush, sir, hush ! — hold your tongue. 1 have dis- 
owned your connection. I will not have my wife — a woman, sir, of 
the first family — disgraced by it. Yes ; you need not fire up. John 
Pompley is not a man to be bullied in his own house. I say dis- 
graced. Did not you run into debt, and spend your fortune ? Did 
not you marry a low creature — a vulgarian — a tradesman's daughter ? 
— and your poor father s-uch a respectable man — a beneficed clergy- 
man! Did not you sell your commission? Heaven knows what 
became of the money ! Did not you turn (I shudder to say it) a 



850 hi .novel; 03, 

common stage-player, sir ? And then, when yon were on your last 
legs, did I not give you £200 out of my own purse to go to Canada ? 
And now here you are again — and ask me, with a coolness that — that 
takes away my breath— takes away — my breath, sir — to provide for 
the child you have thought proper to have ; a child whose connections 
on the mother's side are of the most abject and discreditable condi- 
tion. Leave my house, leave it — good heavens, sir, not that way !— 
this." And the Colonel opened the glass-door that led into the 
garden. "I will let you out this way. If Mrs. Pompley should see 
you !" And with that thought the Colonel absolutely hooked his 
arm into his poor relation's and hurried him into the garden. 

Mr. Digby said not a word, but he struggled ineffectually to escape 
from the Colonel's arm ; and his colour went and came, came and 
went, with a quickness that showed that in those shrunken veins 
there were still some drops of a soldier's blood. 

But the Colonel had now reached a little postern-door in the 
garden wall. He opened the latch and thrust out his poor cousin. 
Then looking down the lane, which was long, straight, and narrow, 
and seeing it was quite solitary, his eye fell upon the forlorn man, 
and remorse shot through his heart. For a moment the hardest of 
all kinds of avarice, that of the genteel, relaxed its gripe. For a 
moment the most intolerant of all forms of pride, that which is based 
upon false pretences, hushed its voice, ana the Colonel hastily drew 
out his purse. " There," said he, " that is all I can do for you. Do 
leave the town as quick as you can, and don't mention your name 
to any one. Your father was such a respectable man — beneficed 
clergyman ! " 

" And paid for your commission, Mr. Pompley. My name ! — I am 
not ashamed of it. But do not fear I shall claim your relationship. 
No; I am ashamed oi you /" 

The poor cousin put aside the purse, still stretched towards him, 
with a scornful hand, and walked firmly down the lane. 

Colonel Pompley stood irresolute. At that moment a window in 
his house was thrown open. He heard the noise, turned round, and 
saw his wile looking out. 

Colonel Pompley sneaked back through the shrubbery, hiding 
himself amongst the trees. 



CHAPTER 2. 

" Ill-luck is a betise," said the great Cardinal Biehelieu ; and on 
the long run, I fear, his eminence was right. If you could drop Dick 
Avenel°and Mr. Digby in the middle of Oxford Street — Dick ; n a 
fustian jacket, Digby in a suit of superfine — Dick with five shillings 
in his pocket, Digby with a thousand pounds — and if, at the end of 
ten years, you looked up your two men, Dick would be on his road 
to a fortune, Digby — what we have seen him ! Yet Digby had no 
' ' " What was he, tkai? eieiDlsss. 



Tice ; he did not dmik, nor gamble. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIICE. 2bl 

He had been an only son — a spoiled child — brought up as " a gentle- 
man ;" that is, as a man who was not expected to be able to turn his 
hand to anything. He entered, as we have seen, a very expensive 
regiment, wherein he found himself, at his father's death, with £4,000, 
and the incapacity to say " No." Not naturally extravagant, but with- 
out an idea of the value of money — the easiest, gentlest, best tem- 
pered man whom example ever led astray. This part of his career 
comprised a very common history — the poor man living on equal 
terms with the rich. Debt ; recourse to usurers ; bills signed sometimes 
for others, renewed at twenty per cent, the £4,000 melted like snow ; 
pathetic appeal to relations ; relations have children of their own • 
small help given grudgingly, eked out by much advice, and coupled 
with conditions. Amongst_ the conditions there was a very proper 
and prudent one — exchange into a less expensive regiment. Exchange 
effected ; peace ; obscure country quarters ; enmd, flute-playing, and 
idleness. Mr. Digby had no resources on a rainy day — except flute- 
playing ; pretty girl of inferior rank ; all the officers after her ; Digby 
smitten ; pretty girl very virtuous ; Digby forms honourable intentions ; 
excellent sentiments ; imprudent marriage. Digby falls in life ; coJonel's 
lady will not associate with Mrs. Digby ; Digby cut by his whole kith 
and kin ; many disagreeable circumstances in regimental life ; Digby 
sells out ; love in a cottage ; execution in ditto. Digby had been 
much applauded as an amateur actor; thinks of the stage; genteel 
comedy — a gentleman-like profession. Tries in a provincial town, 
under another name ; unhappily succeeds ; life of an actor ; hand-to- 
mouth life ; illness ; chest affected ; Digby's voice becomes hoarse 
and feeble ; not aware of i£ ; attributes failing success to ignorant 
provincial public ; appears in London ; is hissed ; returns to the pro- 
vinces ; sinks into very small parts ; prison ; despair ; wife dies • 
appeal again to relations ; a subscription made to get rid of him ; send 
him out of the country ; place in Canada — superintendent to an estate, 
£150 a year ; pursued by ill-luck ; never before fit for business, not 
fit now ; honest as the day, but keeps slovenly accounts ; child cannot 
bear the winter of Canada ; Digby wrapped up in the child ; return 
home ; mysterious life for two years ; child patient, thoughtful, loving ; 
has learned to work ; manages for father ; often supports him ; con- 
stitution rapidly breaking; thought of what will become of his child 
— worst disease of all. Poor Digby !— Never did a base, cruel, unkind 
thing in his life ; and here he is, walking down the lane from Colonel 
Pompley's house ! Now, if Digby had but learned a little of the 
world's cunning, I think he would have succeeded even witli Colonel 
Pompley. Had he spent the £100 received from Lord L'Estrange 
with a view to effect — had he bestowed a fitting wardrobe on himself 
and his pretty Helen ; had he stopped at the last stage, taken thence 
a smart chaise and parr, and presented himself at Colonel Pomp!ey's 
in a way that would not have discredited the Coloner s connection, 
and then, instead of praying for home and shelter, asked the Colonel 
to become guardian to lis child in case of his death, I have a strong 
notion that the Colonel, in spite of his avarice, would have stretched 
both ends so as to take in Helen Digby. But our poor friend had no 
•uct arts. Indeed, of the £100 he had already very little left, for 



£58 mx :;ovel; on. 

before leaving town lw had committed what Sheridan considered the 
extreme of extravagance— frittered away his money in paying his 
debts ; and as for dressing up Helen and himself— if that thought 
had ever occurred to him, he would have rejected it as foolish, lie 
would have thought that the more he showed his poverty, the more 
he would be pitied — the worst mistake a poor cousin can commit. 
According 1o Theophrastus, the partridge of Paphlagonia has two 
hearts ; so have most men; it is the common mistake of the unlucky 
to knock at t'.'.t wrong one. 



CHAPTER XI. 

Mr. Digby entered the room of the inn in wnich he had left 
Helen. She was seated by the window, and looking out wistfully 
on the narrow street, perhaps at the children at play. There had 
never been a playtime for Helen Digby. She sprang forward as her 
father came in. His coming was her holiday. 

" We must go back to London," said Mr .'Digby, sinking helplessly 
on the chair. Then with his sort of sickly smile— for he was bland 
even to his child — " "Will you kindly inquire when the first coach 
leaves?" 

All the active cares of their careful life devolved upon that quiet 
child. She kissed her father, placed before him a cough mixture 
which he had brought from London, and went out silently to make 
the necessary inquiries, and prepare for the journey back. 

At eight o'clock the father and child were seated in the night- 
coach, with one other passenger — a man muffled up to the chin. 
After the tirst mile, the man let down one of the windows. Though 
it was summer, the air was chill and raw. Digby shivered and 
coughed. 

Helen placed her hand on the window, and, leaning towards tne 
passenger, whispered softly. 

"Eh !" said the passenger, "draw up the windows? You havp 
got your own window ; this is mine. Oxygen, young lady," he added 
solemnly, "oxygen is the breath of life. Cott, child !" he continued 
with suppressed choler, and a Welsh pronunciation, " Cott ! let us 
breathe and live." 

Helen was frightened, and recoiled. 

Her father, wno h_td not heard, or had not heeded, this colloquy. 
retreated into the corner, put up the collar of his coat, and coughed 
agai n. 

" It is cold, my dear " said he languidly to Helen. 

The passenger caught the word, and replied indignantly, but as if 
soliloquising — 

" Cold— ugh ! I do believe the English are the stuffiest people ! 
Look at their four-post beds !— all the curtains drawn, shutters closed, 
board before the chimney— not a house with a ventilator! Cold— 
■ugh!" 

The window next Mr. Digby did not fit well into its frame. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 253 

" There is a sad draught," said the invalid. 

Helen instantly occupied herself in stopping up the chinks of the 
window with her handkerchief. Mr. Digby glanced ruefully at the 
other window. The look, which was very eloquent, aroused yet more 
the traveller's spleen. 

"Pleasant!" said he. " Cott ! I suppose you will ask me to go 
outside next ! But people who travel in a coach should know the 
law of a coach. I don't interfere with your window ; you hare no 
business to interfere with mine." 

" Sir, I did not speak," said Mr. Digby, meekly. 

"But Miss here did." 

"Ah, sir!" said Helen, plaintively, "if you knew how papa 
suffers !" And her hand again moved towards the obnoxious window. 

'' No, my dear ; the gentleman is in his right," said Mr. Digby : 
and, bowing with his wonted suavity, he added, " Excuse her, sir. 
She thinks a great deal too much of me." 

The passenger said nothing, and Helen nestled closer to her father, 
and strove to screen him from the air. 

The passenger moved uneasily. " Well," said he, with a sort of 
snort, " air is air, and right is right : but here goes " — and he hastily 
drew up the window. 

Helen turned her face full towards the passenger with a grateful 
expression, visible even in the dim light. 

" You are very kind, sir," said poor Mr. Digby ; " I am ashamed 
to" — his cough choked the rest of the sentence. 

The passenger, who was a plethoric, sanguineous man, felt as if he 
were stifling. But he took off his wrappers, and resigned the oxygen 
like a hero. 

Presently he drew nearer to the sufferer, and laid hand on his 
wrist. 

" You are feverish, I fear. I am a medical man. St ! — one — two. 
Cott ! you should not travel ; you are not fit for it ! " 

Mr. Digby shook his head ; he was too feeble to reply. 

The passenger thrust his hand into his coat-pocket, and drew out 
what seemed a cigar-case, but what, in fact, was a leathern repertory, 
containing a variety of minute phials. Prom one of these phials he 
extracted two tiny globules. " There," said he, " open your mouth — 
put those on the tip of your tongue. They will lower the pulse — 
check the fever. Be better presently — but should not travel — want 
rest— you should be in bed. Aconite ! — Henbane ! — hum ! Your 
papa is of fair complexion — a timid character, I should say — a horror 
of work, perhaps. Eh, child ? " 

"Sir!" faltered Helen, astonished and alarmed. — Was the man a 
conjuror ? 

"A case for Phosphor /" cried the passenger: " that fool Browne 
would have, said arsenic. Don't be persuaded to take arsenic !" 

" Arsenic, sir ! " echoed the mild Digby. _ " No : however unfor- 
tunate a man may be, I think, sir, that suicide is — tempting, per- 
fiaps, but highly criminal." 

" Suicide," said the passenger tranquilly — " suicide is my hobbj? I 
You lnve no symptom of that kind, you say ?" 



25i Z1Y XOVEL: CK, 

" Good neavens ! No, sir." 

" If ever vou feel violently impelled to drown yourself, take. Pulsa- 
tilla. But if you feel a preference towards blowing out your brains,, 
accompanied with weight in the limbs, loss of appetite, dry cough^ 
and bad corns — sulpha ret of 'antimony. Don't forget." 

Though poor Mr. Digby confusedly thought that the gentleman 
was out of his mind, yet he tried politely to say "that he was much 
obb'ged, and would be sure to remember ;" but his tongue failed him, 
and his own ideas grew perplexed. His head fell back heavily, and 
he sank into a silence which seemed that of sleep! 

The traveller looked hard at Helen, as she gently drew her father's 
head on her shoulder, and there pillowed it with a tenderness which 
was more that of mother than child. 

" Moral affections — soft — compassionate ! — a good child, and would 
go well with — pulsatilia." 

Helen held up her finger, and glanced from her father to the tra- 
veller, and then to her father again. 

" Certainly— -Pulsatilla ! " muttered the homoeopathist ; and, en- 
sconcing himself in his own corner, he also sought to sleep. But after 
vain efforts, accompanied by restless gestures and movements, he 
suddenly started up, and Again extracted his phial-book. 

" What the deuce are they to me !" he muttered. "Morbid sen- 
sibility of character — coffee? No !— accompanied by vivacity and 
violence — Nux /" He brought his book to the window, contrived to 
read the label on a pigmy bottle. Nux ! that's it, he said — and he 
swallowed a globule ! 

"Now," quoth he, after a pause, "I don't care a straw for the 
misfortunes of other i)eople — nay, — 1 have half a mind to let down 
the window." 

Helen looked up. 

"But I'll not," he added, lesohitely; and this time he fell fairly 
asleep. 



CHAPTER XII. 

The coach stopped at eleven o'clock, to allow the passengers to 
sup. The homceopathist woke up, got out, gave himself a shake, and 
inhaled the fresh air into his vigorous lungs with an evident sensation 
of delight. He then turned and looked into the coach — 

" Let your father get out, my dear," said he, with a tone more 
gentle than usual. " I should like to see him in-doors — perhaps 
I can do him good." 

But what was Helen's terror when she found that her father did 
not stir ! He was in a deep swoon, and still quite insensible when 
vhey lifted him from the carriage. When he recovered his senses, 
his cough returned, and the effort brought up blood. 

It was impossible for him to proceed farther. The homoeopathist 
assisted to undress and put him into bed. And having administered 
another of his mysterious globules, he inquired of the laadlady 



T&aiESiaS KJ ENGLISH LTPE. 255 

how far it was to tlie nsarest doctor— for the inn stood by itself 
in a small hamlet. There was the parish apothecary three miles 
off. But on hearing that the gentlefolks employed Dr. Dosewell, 
and it was a good seven miles to his house, the homoeopathist 
fetched a deep breath. The coach only stopped a quarter of an 
hour. 

" Cott ! " said he, angrily, to himself—" the nux was a failure. 
My sensibility is chronic. I must go through a long course to get 
rid of it. Hollo, guard ! get out my carpet-bag. I shan't go on 
to-nisrht." 

And the good man, after a very slight supper, went upstairs 
again to the sufferer. 

" Shall I send for Dr. Dosewell, sir ? " asked the landlady, 
stopping him at the door. 

' Hum ! At what hour to-morrow does the next coach to London 
pass?" 

" Not before eight, sir." 

" Well, send for the doctor to be here at seven. That leaves us 
at least some hours free from allopathy and murder," grunted the 
disciple of Hahnemann, as he entered the room. 

Whether it was the globule that the homoeopathist had adminis- 
tered, or the effect of nature, aided by repose, that checked the 
effusion of blood, and restored some temporary strength to the 
poor sufferer, is more than it becomes one not of the faculty to opine. 
But certainly Mr. Digby seemed better, and he gradually fell into 
a profound sleep, but not till the doctor had put his ear to his 
chest, tapped it with his hand, and asked several questions ; after 
which the homoeopathist retired into a corner of the room, and 
leaning his face on his hand, seemed to meditate. From his 
thoughts he was disturbed by a gentle touch. Helen was kneel- 
ing at his feet. 

"Is he very ill— very?" said she; and her fond wistful eyes 
were fixed on the physician's with all the earnestness of despair. 

" Your father is very ill," replied the doctor, after a short pause. 
" He cannot move hence for some days at least. I am going to 
London — shall I call on your relations, and tell some of them to 
ioin you ? " 

" No, thank you, sir," answered Helen, colouring. " But do not 
fear ; I can nurse papa. I think he has been worse before — that is, he 
has complained more." 

The homoeopathist rose, and took two strides across the room, 
then he paused by the bed, and listened to the breathing of the 
sleeping man. 

He stole back to the child, who was still kneeling, took her in his 
arms and kissed her. " Tamn it," said he, angrily, and putting her 
down, " go to bed now — you are not wanted any more." 

" Please, sir," said Helen, " 1 cannot leave him so. If he wakes 
he would miss me." 
{( The doctor's hand trembled; he had recourse to his globules. 

Anxietj —grief suppressed," muttered he. " Don't you wi*nt to 
-ry, my dear ? Cry— do ! " 



2C") MT HOTEL; OR, 

" 1 can't," murmured Helen. 

"Pulsatilla!" said the doctor, almost with triumph. "Isaida* 
itom the first. Open your mouth — here.' Good night. My room is 
cDposite — No. 6 ; call me if he wakes," 



CHAPTER X11I. 

at seven o'clock Dr. Dosewell arrived, and was shown into the 
i '.'om of the homoeopatbist, who, already up and dressed, had visited 
lis patient. 

'• My name is Morgan," said the homoeopathist — "I am a physi- 
cian. I leave in your hands a patient whom, I fear, neither I nor yon 
can restore. Come and look at him." 

The two doctors went into the sick room. Mr. Digby was very 
feeble, but he had recovered his consciousness, and inclined his head 
courteously. 

"I am sorry to cause so much trouble," said he. The homoeo- 
pathist drew away Helen ; the allopathist seated himself by the 
bedside and put his questions, felt the pulse, sounded the lungs, 
and looked at the tongue of the patient. Helen's eye was fixed on 
the strange doctor, and her colour rose, and her eye sparkled when he 
got up cheerfully, and said in a pleasant voice, " You may have a 
little tea." 

" Tea ! " growled the homceopathist — " barbarian ! " 

" He is better, then, sir?" said Helen, creeping to the allopathist. 

" Oh, yes, my dear — certainly ; and we shall do very well, I hope." 

The two doctors then ■withdrew. 

" Last about a week ! " said Dr. Dosewell, smiling pleasantly, and 
showing a very white set of teeth. 

" I should have said a month ; but our systems are different," 
replied Dr. Morgan, drily. 

Dr. Dosewell (courteously.) — We country doctors bow to our 
metropolitan superiors ; what would you advise r 1 You would ven- 
ture, perhaps, the experiment of bleeding. 

Dk. Morgan (spluttering and growing Welsh, which he never did 
but in excitement). — Pleed! Cott in heaven! do you think I am a 
putcher — an executioner ? Pleed ! Never. 

Dr. Dosewell.— I don't find it answ;er, myself, when both lungs 
are gone ! But perhaps you are for inhaling. 

Dr. Morgan.— Piddledee ! 

Dr. Dosewell (with some displeasure). — What would you advise, 
then, in order to prolong our patient's life for a month ? 

Dr. Morgan. — Give him Rhus ! 

Dr. Dosewell. — Rhus, sir ! Rhus ! I don't know that medicine. 
Rhus! 

Dr. Morgan. — Rhus Toxicodendron. 

The length of the last word excited Dr. Dosewell's respect. A 
word of five syllables — this was something like ! He bowed defe- 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 1257 

renlially, but still looked puzzled. At last he said, smiling' frankly, 
"You great London practitioners have so many new medicines; may 
I ask what Rhus toxico — toxico " 

"Dendron." 

"Is?" 

" The juice of the Upas — vulgarly called the Poison-Tree." 

Dr. Dosewell started. 

"Upas — poison-tree— little birds that come under the shade fall 
down dead! You give upas-juice in these desperate cases — what's 
the dose?" 

Dr. Morgan grinned maliciously, and produced n globule the size of 
a small pin's head. 

Dr. Dosewell recoiled in disgust. 

" Oh !" said he very coldly, and assuming at onct -ai. air of superb 
superiority, " I see — a homoeopathist, sir ! " 

" A homoeopathist !" 

"Urn!" 

"Urn!" 

"A strange system, Dr. Morgan," said Dr. Dosewell, recovering 
his cheerful smile, but with a curl of contempt in it, "and would 
soon do for the druggists." 

" Serve 'em right. The druggists soon do for the patients." 

"Sir!" 

"Sir!" 

Dk. Dosewell (with dignity). — You don't know, perhaps, 
Dr. Morgan, that I am an apothecary as well as a surgeon. In 
tact, he added, wi +u a certain grand humility, I have not yet taken 
a diploma, and am ^ Doctor by courtesy. 

Dr. Morgan. — All one, Sir ! Doctor signs the death-warrant — 
'pothecary does the deed ! 

Dr. Dosewell (with a withering sneer). — Certainly we don't 
profess to keep a dying man alive upon the juice of the deadly upas- 
tree. 

Dr. Morgan (complacently). — Of course you don't. There are 
no poisons with us. That's just the difference between you and me, 
Dr. Dosewell. 

Dr. Dosewell (pointing to the homceopathist's travelling phar- 
macopoeia, and with affected candour). — Indeed, I have always said 
that if you can do no good you can do no harm, with your in- 
finitesimals. 

Dr. Morgan, who had been obtuse to the insinuation of poisoning, 
fires up violently at the charge of doing no harm. 

" You know nothing about it ! I could kill quite as many people 
as you, if I chose it ; Dut I don't choose." 

Dr. Dosewell (shrugging his shoulders).— Sir ! 'tis no use argu- 
ing; the thing's against common sense. In short, it is my fina 
belief that it is — is a complete 

Dr. Morgau. — A complete what ? 

Dr. Dosewell (provoked to the utmost). — Humbug! 

Dr. Morgan. — Humpug! Cott in heaven ! Yon old 

Dr. Dosewell. — Old what, sir ? 

T«n~ I. s 



263 MY NJ)VEL; OK, 

Dr. Morgan (at home in a series of alliteral vowels 5 which none 
but a Cymbrian could have uttered without gasping).— Old allo- 
pathical anthropophagite ! 

Dr. Dosewell (starting up, seizing by the back the chair on 
which he had sate, and bringing it down violently on its four legs).— 
Sir! 

Dr. Morgan (imitating the action with his own chair). — Sir! 

Dk. Dosewell. — You're abusive. 

Dr. Morgan". — You're impertinent. 

Dr. Dosewell. — Sir. 

Dr. Morgan. — Sir. 

The two rivals fronted each other. 

Thev were both athletic men, and fiery men. Ik'. Josewell was 
the taller, but Dr. Morgan was the stouter. Dr. Dosewell on the 
mother's side w,is Irish ; but Dr. Morgan on both sides was Welsh. 
All things considered, I would have backed Dr. Morgan if it had 
come to blows. But, luckily for the honour of science, here the 
chambermaid kaocked at the door, and said, " The coach is coming, 
sir." 

I>r. Morgan recovered his temper and his manners at that an- 
nouncement. " Dr. Dosewell," said he, " I have been too hot— 1 
apologise." 

" ! Jr. Morgan," answered the allopathist, " I forgot myself. Your 
hand, sir." 

Dr. Morgan. — We are both devoted to humanity, though with 
different opinions. We should respect each other. 

Dr. Dosewell. — Where look for liberality, if " 1 en of science are 
illiberal to their brethren? 

Dr. Morgan (aside). — The old hypocrite! He would pound me 
in a mortar if the law would let him. 

Dr. Dosewell (aside). — The wretched charlatan ! I should like 
to pound him in a mortar. 

Dr. Morgan. — Good bye, my esteemed and worthy brother. 

Dr. Dosewell. — My excellent friend, good bye. 

Dr. Morgan (returning in haste).— I forgot. I don't think our 

Eoor patient is very rich. I confide linn to your disinterested 
enevolence. — (Hurries away.) 

Dr. Dosewell (in a rage).— Seven miles at six o'clock in the 
morning, and perhaps done out of my fee ! Quack ! Villain ! 

Meanwhile, Dr. Morgan had returned to the sick room. 

"1 must wish you farewell," said he to poor Mr. Digby, who was 
languidly sipping his tea. " But you are m the hands of a — of a — 
gentleman in the profession." 

"You have been too kind — I am shocked," said Mr. Digby. 
" Helen, where's my purse ?" 

Dr. Morgan paused. 

He paused, first, because it must be owned that his practice w?,s 
restricted, and a fee gratified the vanity natural to unappreciated 
talent, and had the charm of novelty, which is sweet to human nature 
itself. Secondly, he was a man — 

" Who laiew his rigMs : and, knowing, dared maintain." 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 253 

He had resigned a coach-fare — stayed anight— and thought he had 
relieved Ms patient. He had a right to his fee. 

On the other hand, he paused, because, though he had small prac- 
tice, he was tolerably 'well off, and did not care for money in itself, 
and he suspected his patient to be no Croesus. 

Meanwhile the purse was in Helen's hand. He took it from her, 
sud saw but a few sovereigns within the well-worn net-work. He 
drew the child a little aside. 

"Answer me, my dear, frankly — is your papa rich?" And he 
glanced at the shabby clothes strewed on the chair, and Helen's faded 
frock. 

" Alas, no ! " said Helen, hanging her head. 

"Is that all you have ?" 

"All." 

" I am ashamed to offer you two guineas," said l\ir. JDigby's hollow 
voice from the bed. 

" And I should be still more ashamed to take them. Good bye, sir. 
Come here, my child. Keep your money, and don't waste it on the 
other doctor more than you can help. His medicines can do your 
father no good. But I suppose you must have some. He's no 
physician, therefore there's no fee. He'll send a bill — it can't be 
much. You understand. And now, God bless you." 

Dr. Morgan was off. But, as he paid the landlady his bill, he said, 
considerately, " The poor people up-stairs can pay you, but not that 
doctor — and he's of no use. Be kind to the little girl, and get the 
doctor to tell his patient (quietly, of course) to write to his friends — 
soon — you understand. Somebody must take charge of the poor child. 
And stop — hold your hand ; take care — these globules for the little 
girl when her father dies — (here the Doctor muttered to himself, 
' grief;— aconite) — and if she cries too much afterwards — these — 
(don't mistake). Tears ; — caustic !" 

" Come, sir," cried the coachman. 

" Coming; — tears — caustic" repeated the homoeopathist, pulling out 
Lis handkerchief and his phial-book together as he got into the coach: 
and he hastily swallowed his antilachrymal. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

ItiCHARD Avenel was in a state of great nervous excitement. 
fie proposed to give an entertainment of a kind wholly new to the 
«perience of Screwstown. Mrs. M'Catchley had described with 
much eloquence the Dejeiuu's dansants of her fashionable friends 
residing in the elegant suburbs of Wimbledon and Fulham. She 
declared that nothing was so agreeable. She had even said 
point-blank to Mr. Avenel, " Why don't you give a Dejcibi& 
damant?" And, therewith, a Dejewie dansant Mr. Avenel resolved 
to give. 

The day was fixed, and Mr. Avmel entered into all the requis-te 



SW) Mt NCVEi,, uis 

preparations, with the energy of a man and the providence of r. 
woman. 

One morning as he stood musing on the lawn, irresolute as to the 
best site for the tents, Leonard came up to him with an open letter in 
his hand. 

" My dear uncle," said he, softly. 

"Ha!" exclaimed Mr. Avenel, with a start. " Ha— well— what 
now?" 

" I have just received a letter from Mr. Dale. He tells me that 
my poor mother is very restless and uneasy, because he cannot assure 
her that he has heard from me ; and his letter requires an answer. 
Indeed I shall seem very ungrateful to him — to all — if I do not 
write." 

Richard Avenel's brows met. He uttered an impatient "pish!" 
and turned awav. Then coming back, he fixed his clear hawk-like 
eye on Leonard's ingenuous countenance, linked his arm in his 
nephew's, and drew him into the shrubbery. 

" Well, Leonard," said he, after a pause, " it is time that I should 
give you some idea of my plans with regard to you. You have seen 
my manner of living— some difference from what you ever saw 
before, I calculate ! Now 1 have given you, what no one gave me, a 
lift in the world ; and where I place you, there you must help 
yourself." 

" Such is my duty, and my desire," said Leonard, heartily. 

" Good. You are a clever lad, and a genteel lad, and will do me 
credit. I have had doubts of what is best for you. At one time I 
thought of sending you to college. That, I know, is Mr. Dale's wish; 
perhaps it is your own. But I have given up that idea; I have 
someining bettor for you. You have a clear head for business, and 
are a capital arithmetician. 1 think of bringing you up to superin- 
tend my business ; by-and-by I will admit you into partnership ; and 
before you are tliirty you will be a rich man. Come, does that suit 



you 



P> 



My dear uncle," said Leonard, frankly, but much touched by this 
generosity, "it is not for me to have a choice. I should have pre- 
ferred going to college, because there I might gain independence for 
myself, and cease to be a burden on you. Moreover, my neart moves 
mc to studies more congenial with the college than the counting-house. 
But all this is nothing compared with my wish to be of use to you, 
and to prove in any way, however feebly, my gratitude for all your 
kindness." 

" You're a good, grateful, sensible lad," exclaimed Richard, hear- 
tily ; " and believe me, though I'm a rough diamond, I have your 
true interest at heart. You can be of use to me, and hi being so you 
will best serve yourself. To tell you the truth, I have some idea of 
changing my condition. There's a lady of fashion and quality who, 
I think, may condescend to become Mrs. Avenel, and if so, I shall 
probably reside a great part of the year in London. I don't want to 
give up my business. No other investment will yield the same 
interest. But you can soon learn to superintend it for me, as some 
day or other I may retire, and then you can step in. Once a member 



VAJUJ5Tl.ES IN ENGLISH L\ rfj . 261 

of our great commercial class, and with your talents you may be 
anything — member of parliament, and after that, minister of state, for 
what I know. And my wife — hem ! — that is to be, — has great con- 
nexions, and you shall marry well ; and — oh, the Avenels will aold 
their heads with the highest, after all ! ^ Damn the aristocracy— 
■we clever fellows will be the aristocrats — eh ?" Richard rubbed bis 
hands. 

Certainly, as we have seen, Leonard, especially in his earlier steps 
to knowledge, had repined at his position in the many degrees of 
life — certainly he was still ambitious — certainly he could not now 
have returned contentedly to the humble occupation he had left ; and 
woe to the young man who does not hear with a quickened pulse, 
and brightening eye, words that promise independence, and flatter 
with the hope of distinction. Still, it was with all the reaction of chill 
and mournful disappointment that Leonard, a few hours after this 
dialogue with his uncle, found himself alone in the fields, and 
pondering over the prospects before him. He had set his heart upon 
completing his intellectual education, upon developing those powers 
within him which yearned for an arena of literature, and revolted 
from the routine of trade. But to his credit be it said, that he 
vigorously resisted this natural disappointment, and by degrees 
schooled himself to look cheerfully on the path imposed on his 
duty, and sanctioned by the manly sense that was at the core of his 
character. 

I believe that this self-conquest showed that the boy had _ true 
genius. The false genius would have written sonnets and despaired. 

But still, Richard Avenel left his nephew sadly perplexed as to the 
knotty question from which their talk on the future nad diverged — 
viz., should he write to the Parson, and assure the fears of his mother ? 
How do so without Richard's consent, when Richard had on a former 
occasion so imperiously declared that, if he did, it would lose his 
mother all that Richard intended to set tic on her ? While he was 
debating this matter with his conscience, leaning against a stile that 
interrupted a path to the town, Leonard Fairfield was startled by 
an exclamation. He looked up, and beheld Mr. Sprott, the tinker. 



CHAPTER XV. 

The tinker, blacker and grimmer than ever, siaitu Lard al ii;e 
altered person of his old acquaintance, and extended his sable fingers, 
as if inclined to convince himself by the sense of touch that it was 
Leonard in the flesh that he beheld, under vestments so marvellously 
elegant and preternaturally spruce. 

Leonard shrunk mechanically from the contact, while in great 
surprise he faltered — 

" You here, Mr. Sprott ! What could bring you so far from 
home?" 

" 'Ome ! " echoed the tinker, " I 'as no 'ome ! or rather, d'ye see. 



2u^ 



MY NOVEL; 0£, 



Muster Fairfilt, 1 makes myself at 'ome verever I goes ! Lor' love ye, 
I ben't settled on no parridge. I vanders here and I vanders there, 
and that's my 'ome verever I can mend my kettles and sell my 
tracks ! " 

So saying, the tinker slid his panniers on the ground, gave a grunt of 
release and satisfaction, and seated himself with great composure ou 
the stile, from which Leonard had retreated. 

" But, dash my vig," resumed Mr. Sprott, as he once more sur- 
veyed Leonard, " vy, you bees a rale gentleman, now sure/#/ Vot's 
the dodge— eh ? " 

" Dodge ! " repeated Leonard mechanically — " I don't understand 
you." Then, thinking that it was neither necessary nor expedient to 
keep up his acquaintance with Mr. Sprott, nor prudent to expose 
himself to the battery of questions wliich he foresaw that further 
parley would bring upon him, he extended a crown-piece to the tinker ; 
and saying with a half -smile, " You must excuse me for leaving you — 
I have business in the town ; and do me the favour to accept this 
trifle," he walked briskly off. 

The tinker looked long at the crown-piece, and then sliding it into 
his pocket, said to himself— 

" Ho — 'u^h-money ! No go, my swell cove." 

After venting that brief soliloquy, he sat silent a little while, till 
Leonard was nearly out of sight, then rose, resumed his fardel, and 
creeping quick along the hedgerows, followed Leonard towards the 
town. Just in the last field, as he looked over the hedge, he saw 
Leonard accosted by a gentleman of comely mien and important 
swagger. That gentleman soon left the young man, and came, whist- 
ling loud, up the path, and straight towards the tinker. Mr. Sprott 
looked round, but the hedge was too neat to allow of a good hiding- 
place, so he put a bold front on it, and stepped forth like a man. 
But. alas for him ! before he got into the public path, the proprietor 
of tiie land, Mr. Richard Avenel, (for the gentleman was no less a 
personage,) had spied out the trespasser, and called to him with a 

Hillo, fellow " that bespoke all the dignity of a man who owns 
acres, and all the wrath of a man who beholds those acres impudently 
invaded. 

The Tinker stopped, and Mr. Avenel stalked up to him. 

" What the devil are you doing on my property, lurking by rcy 
hedge ? I suspect you are an incendiary ! " 

" I be a tinker," quoth Mr. Sprott, not louting low, (for a sturdy 
republican was Mr. Sprott,) but, like a lord of human-kind, 

" Pride in his port, defiance in his eye." 

Mr. Avenel's fingers itched to knock the tinker's villanous hat off 
his Jacobinical head, but he repressed the undignified impulse by 
thrusting both hands deep into his trousers pockets. 

" A tinker ! " he cried — "that's a vagrant ; and I'm a magistrate, 
and I've a great mind to send you to the tread-mill— that I have. 
What do you do here, I say? You have not answered my 
question?" 

" What does I do 'ere ? " said Mr. Sprott. " Vy j'ou had better 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. Sfij 

ax my crakter of the young gent I saw you talking with just now ; he 
knows me ! " 

" What ! my nephew know you?" 

" W — hew," whistled the tinker, " your nephew, is it, sir ? I have 
a great respek for your family. I've known Mrs. Eairfilt, thevasher- 
voman, tins many a year. I 'umbly ax your pardon." And he took 
off his hat this time. 

Mr. Avenel turned red and white in a breath. He growled out 
something inaudible, turned on his heel, and strode off. The tinker 
watched him as he had watched Leonard, and then dogged the uncle 
as he had dogged the nephew. I don't presume to say that there 
was cause and effect in what happened that night, but it was what 
is called a " curious coincidence " that that night one of Richard 
Avenel's ricks was set on fire ; and that that day he had called 
Mr. Sprott an incendiary. Mr. Sprott was a man of a very high 
spirit, and did not forgive an insult easily. His nature was inflam- 
matory, and so was that of the lucifers which he always carried about 
him, with his tracts and glue-pots. 

The next morning there was an inquiry made for the '.inker, but he 
had disappeared from the neighbourhood. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

It was a fortunate thing that the dejeiine Hansard so absorbed Mr. 
Richard Avenel's thoughts, that even the conflagration of his rick 
could not scare away the graceful and poetic images connected with 
that pastoral festivity. He was even loose and careless in the ques- 
tions he put to Leonard about the tinker ; nor did he send justice in 
pursuit of that itinerant trader ; for, to say truth, Richard Avenel 
was a man accustomed to make enemies amongst the lower orders ; 
and though he suspected Mr. Sprott of destroying his rick, yet, when 
he once set about suspecting, he found he had quite as good cause to 
suspect fifty other persons. How on earth could a man puzzle him- 
self about ricks a«id tinkers, when all his cares and energies were 
devoted to a dejeune dansant ? It was a maxim of Richard Avenel's, 
as it ought to be of every clever man, " to do one thing at a time ;" 
and therefore he postponed all other considerations till the dejeune 
dansant was fairly done with. Amongst these considerations was 
the letter which Leonard wished to write to the Parson. " Wait a 
bit, and we will both write ! " said Richard, good-humouredly, " the 
moment the dejeune dansant is over ! " 

It must be owned that this fete was no ordinary provincial cere- 
monial. Richard Avenel was a man to do a thing well when he set 
about it — 

" He soused the cabbage with a bounteous heart." 

By little and little his first notions had expanded, till what had been 
meant to be only neat and elegant now embraced the costly and mag 



264 MY NOVEL; OR. 

nificent. Artificers accustomed to dejeiines danmnts came all the 
way from London to assist, to direct, to create. Hungarian singers, 
and Tyrolese singers, and Swiss peasant-women who were to cliannt 
the Ranz de*. Vaches, and milk cows or make syllabubs, were engaged. 
The great marquee was decorated as a Gothic banquet-hall ; "the 
breakfast itself was to consist of " all the delicacies of the season." 
In short, as Richard Avenel said to himself, " It is a thing once in a 
way ; a thing on which I don't object to spend money, provided that 
the thing is — the thing ! " 

It had been a matter of grave meditation how to make the society 
worthy of the revel ; for Richard Avenel was not contented with a 
mere aristocracy of the town — his ambition had grown with his 
expenses. " Since it will cost so much," said he, " I may as well 
come it strong, and get in the county." 

True, that he was personally acquainted with very few of what are 
called county families. But still, when a man makes himself a 
mark in a large town, and can return one of the members whom that 
town sends to parliament ; ani when, moreover f that man proposes 
to give some superb and origin&l entertainment, in which the old can 
eat ar.d the young can dance ; there is no county in the island that 
has not families enow who will be delighted by an invitation from 
that man. And so Richard, finding that, as the thing got talked of, 
the Dean's lady, and Mrs. Pompley, and various other great person- 
ages, took the liberty to suggest that Squire this, and Sir Somebody 
that, would be so pleased if they were asked, fairly took the bull by 
the horns, and sent out his cards to Park, Hall, and Rectory, within 
a circumference of twelve miles. He met with but few refusals, and 
he now counted upon five hundred guests. 

" In for a penny in for a pound," said Mr. Richard Avenel. " I 
wonder what Mrs. M'Catchley will say?" Indeed, if the whole 
truth must be known, Mr. Richard Avenel not only gave that dekilne 
dansant in honour of Mrs. M'Catchley, but he had fixed in his heart 
of hearts upon that occasion (when surrounded by all his splendour, 
and assisted by the seductive arts of Terpsichore and Bacchus), to 
whisper to Mrs. M'Catchley those soft words which— but why not 
here let Mr. Richard Avenel use his own idiomatic and unsophisti- 
cated expression ? " Please the pigs, then " said Mr. Avenel to him- 
self, " I shall pop the question ! " 



CHAPTER XVn. 

The Great Day arrived at last ; and Mr. Richard Avenel, from his 
dressing-room window, looked on the scene below as Hannibal or 
Napoleon looked from the Alps on Italy. It was a scene to gratify 
the thought of conquest, and reward the labours of ambitio„. Placed 
on a little eminence stood the singers from the mountains of the 
Tyrol, their high-crowned hats ana filigree buttons and gay sashes 
gleaming in the sun. Just seen from his place of watch, though con- 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIFE. 265 

ponied from the casual eye, the Hungarian musicians lay in ainbusn 
amidst a little belt of laurels and American shrubs. Far to the right 
lay what had once been called {horresco rcferens) the duck-pond, where 
— Dulce sonant tenui gutture carmen ares. But the ruthless ingenuity 
of the head artificer had converted the duck-pond into a Swiss lake, 
despite grievous wrong and sorrow to the asmietum innocuumque 
genus — the familiar and harmless inhabitants, who had been all cxpa- 
triated and banished from their native waves. Large poles twisted 
with fir-branches, stuck thickly around the lake, gave to the waters 
the becoming Helvetian gloom. And here, beside three cows all 
bedecked with ribbons, stood the Swiss maidens destined to startle 
the shades with the Rauz des Vaches. To the left, full upon the 
sward, which it almost entirely covered, stretched the great Gothic 
marquee, divided into two grand sections— one for the dancing, one 
for the dejeune. 

The day was propitious — not a cloud in the sky. The musicians 
were already tuning their instruments ; figures of waiters hired of 
Gunter — trim and decorous, in black trousers and white waistcoats — ■ 
passed to and fro the space between the house and marquee, Richard 
looked and looked ; and as he looked he drew mechanically his razor 
across the strop ; and when he had looked his fill, he turned reluc- 
tantly to the glass and shaved ! All that blessed morning he had 
been too busy, till then, to think of shaving. 

There is a vast deal of character in the way that a man performs 
that operation of shaving ! You should have seen Richard Avenel 
shave ! You could have judged at once how he would shave his 
neighbours, when you saw the celerity, the completeness with which 
he shaved himself — a forestroke and a backstroke, and tondenti barba 
cadelat ! Cheek and chin were as smooth as glass. You would have 
buttoned up your pockets instinctively if you had seen him _ 

But the rest of Mr. Avenel's toilet was not completed with corre- 
spondent despatch. On his bed, and on his chairs, and on his sofa, 
and on his drawers, lay trousers, and vests, and cravats enough to 
distract the choice of a Stoic. And first one pair of trousers was tried 
on, and then another,— and one waistcoat, and then a second, and' 
then a third. Gradually that chef-d'eeuvre of Civilization — a man 
dressed — grew into development and form ; and, finally, Mr. Richard 
Avenel emerged into the light of day. He had been lucky in his 
costume — he felt it. It might not suit every one in colour or cut, 
but it suited Mm. 

And this was his garb. On such occasions, what epic poet would 
not describe the robe and tunic of a hero ? 

His surtout — in modern phrase, his frock-coat — was blue, a rich 
blue, — a blue that the royal brothers of George the Fourth were wont 
to favour. And the surtout, single-breasted, was thrown open gal- 
lantly ; and in the second button-hole thereof was a moss-rose. The 
vest was white, and the trousers a pearl-grey, with what tailors style 
" a handsome fall over the boot." A blue and white silk cravat, tied 
loose and debonnaire ; an ample field of shirt-front, with plain gold 
studs : a pair of lemon-coloured kid gloves, and a white hat, placed 
somewhat too knowingly on one side, complete the description, and 



2bo MY NOVEL; OK, 

" give the world assurance of the man." And, with his light, firm, 
well-shaped figure, his clear complexion, his keen, bright eye, and 
! '°atures that Despoke the courage, precision, and alertness of his 
character — that is to say, features bold, not large, well-defined, 
and regular, — you might walk long through town or country before 
you would see a handsomer specimen of humanity than our friend 
ilichard Avenel. 

, Handsome, and feeling that he was handsome ; rich, and feeling 
that he was rich ; lord of the fete, and feeling that he was lord of the 
iete, Kichard Avenel stepped out upon his lawn. 

And now the dust began to rise along the road, and carriages, and 
gigs, and chaises, and flies might be seen at near intervals, and hi 
quick procession. People came pretty much about the same time — 
iv.. they do in the country,— Heaven reward them for it ! 

ilicliard Avenel was not quite at his ease at first in receiving 
his guests, especially those whom he did not know by sight. But 
when the dancing began, and he had secured the fair hand of Mrs. 
M'Catchley for the initiatory quadrille, his courage and presence of 
mind returned to him ; and, seeing that many people whom he had 
not received at all seemed to enjoy themselves very much, he gave 
up the attempt to receive those who came after, — and that was a 
great relief to all parties. 

Mean while Leonard looked on the animated scene with a silent 
melancholy, which he in vain endeavoured to shake off, — a melancholy 
mure common amongst very young men in such scenes than we are 
apt (o suppose. Somehow or other, the pleasure was not congenial 
to him ; he had no Mrs. M'Catchley to endear it, — lie knew very few 
people, — he was shy, — he fell his position with his uncle was equi- 
vocal, — he had not the habit of society, — he heard incidentally many 
an ill-nut ured remark upon his uncle and the entertainment, — he felt 
indignant, and mortified. He had been a great deal happier eating 
his radislics, and reading his book by the little fountain in Bicca- 
bocca's garden. He retired to a quiet part of the grounds, seated 
himself under a tree, leant his check on his hand, and mused. He 
was soon far away: — happy age, when, whatever the present, the 
future seems so fair and so infinite ! 

But now the dejeiine had succeeded the earlier dances ; and, as 
champagne flowed royally, it is astonishing how the entertainment 
brightened. 

The sun was beginning to slope towards the west, when, duringa 
temporary cessation of the dance, all the guests had assembled in 
such space as the tent left on the lawn, or thickly filled the walks 
immediately adjoining it. The gay dresses of the ladies, the joyous 
laughter heard everywhere, and the brilliant sunlight over all, con- 
veyed even to Leonard the notion, not of mere hypocritical pleasure, 
but actual healthful happiness. He was attracted from his reverie, 
and timidly mingled with the groups. _ But Richard Avenel, with tha 
fair Mrs. M'Catchley — her complexion more vivid, and her eyes 
more dazzling, and her step more elastic than usual— had turned from 
the gaiety just as Leonard had turned towards it, and was now on the 
very spot "(remote, obscure, shaded by the few trees above live 



vfl;;!i.;iliS IS EXOLIS1! 1.1V 'J.. 2G? 

years old that Mr. Aveuel's property boasted) which ins young 
dreamer had deserted. 

And then ! All, then ! — moment so meet for the sweet question of 
questions, place so appropriate for the delicate, bashful, murmured 
popping thereof ! — suddenly from the sward before, from the groups 
beyond, there floated to the ears of llichard Avenel an indescribable, 
mingled, ominous sound — a sound as of a general titter, — a horrid, 
malignant, but low cachinnation. And Mrs. M'Catchley, stretching 
forth her parasol, exclaimed, "Dear me, Mr. Avenel, what can they 
Lie all crowding there for ? " 

There are certain sounds and certain sights — the one indistinct, 
the other vaguely conjecturable — which, nevertheless, we know, by 
an instinct, bode some diabolical agency at work in our affairs. And 
it any man gives an entertainment, and hears afar a general, ill-sup- 
T,res»ed, derisive titter, and sees all his guests hurrying towards one 
spot, 1 defy him to remain unmoved and uninquisitive. 1 defy him 
Mill more to take that precise occasion (however much he may have 
before designed it) to drop gracefully on his right knee before the 
handsomest Mrs. M'Catchley in the universe, and — pop the ques- 
tion ! Richard Avenel blurted out something very like an oath ; and, 
half guessing that something must have happened that it would not 
be pleasing to bring immediately under the notice of Mrs. M'Catch- 
ley, he said, hastily — " Excuse me. I'll just go and see what is the 
matter ; pray, stay till I come back." "With that he sprang forward ; 
in a minute he was in the midst of the group, that parted aside with 
the most obliging complacency to make way for him. 

"But what's the matter?" he asked, impatiently, yet fearfully. 
Not a voice answered. lie strode on, and beheld his nephew in the 
arms of a woman ! 

God bless my soul ! " said Richard Avenel. 



CHAPTER XVIH. 

And such a woman ■■ 

She had on a cotton gown — very neat, I dare say — for an under 
housemaid ; and such thick shoes ! She had on a little black straw 
bonnet ; and a kerchief, that might have cost tenpence, pinned across 
her waist instead of a shawl ; and she looked altogether — respectable, 
no doubt, but exceedmgly dusty! And she was hanging upon 
Leonard's neck, and scolding, and caressing, and crying very loud. 
" God bless my soul ! " said Mr. Richard Avenel. 

And as he uttered that innocent self-benediction, the woman hastily 
turned round, and, darting from Leonard, threw herself right upon 
Richard Avenel — burving under her embrace blue coat, moss-rose, 
white waistcoat and all — with a vehement sob and a loud exclama- 



tion 



" Oh ! brother Dick !— dear, dear brother Dick ! And I bves to 
gcc thee agin!" And then came two such kisses — you might have 



2C8 MY JiOVJCL; Oil, 

heard them a mile off ! The situation of brother Dick >vas appalling j, 
and the crowd, that had before only tittered politely, could not now 
resist the effect of this sudden embrace. There was a general explo- 
sion ! — It was a roar ! That roar would have killed a weak man ; but- 
it sounded to the strong heart of Richard Avenel like the defiance of 
a foe, and it plucked forth in an instant from all conventional let and 
barrier the native spirit of the Anglo-Saxon. 

He lifted abruptly his handsome masculine head, and looked round 
the ring of his ill-bred visitors with a haughty stare of rebuke and 
surprise. 

" Ladies and gentlemen," then said he, very coolly, " I don't see 
what there is to laugh at ! A brother and sister meet after many 
years' separation, and the sister cries, poor tiring. For my part I 
think it very natural that she should cry; but not that you should 
laugh ! " In an instant the whole shame was removed from Richard 
Avenel, and rested in full weight upon the bystanders. It is impos- 
sible to say how foolish and sheepish they all looked, nor how 
slinkingly each tried to creep nil". 

Richard Avenel seized his advantage with the promptitude of a man 
v. ho had got on in America, and was, therefore, accustomed to make 
the best of things. He drew Mrs. Fairfield's arm in his, and le-d her into 
•lie house; but when he had got her safe into his parlour— Leonard 
following all the time — and the door was closed upon those three, 
tiirn Richard Avcnel's ire burst forth. 

" You impudent, ungrateful, audacious — drab ! " 

Yes, drab was t lie word. I am shocked to say it, but the duties ct 
a historian are stern, and the word irus drab. 

" Drab ! " faultered poor Jane Fairfield ; and she clutched lioid of 
Leonard, to save herself from falling. 

" Sir ! " cried Leonard fiercely. 

You might as well have cried "sir" to a mountain torrent. Richard 
liu tried on, for he was furious. 

" You nasty dirty dusty dowdy ! How dare you come here to 
disgrace me in my own house and premises, after my sending you 
fifty pounds! To take the very time too, when — when — " 

Richard gasped for breath ; and the laugh of his guests rang in his 
ears, and got into his chest, and choked him. Jane Fairfield dre .v 
herself up, and her tears were dried. 

•' 1 did not come to disgrace you; I came to see my boy, and " 

" Ha! " interrupted Richard, " to see him." 

He turned to Leonard : " You have written to this woman, then F : ' 

" No, sir, I have not." 

" I believe you lie." 

" He does not lie ; and he is as good as yourself, and better, 
Richard Avenel," exclaimed Mrs. Fairfield; " and I won't stand here 
and hear him insidted — that's what I won't. And as for your fifty 
pounds, there are forty-five of it ; and I'll work my fingers to the 
bone till I pay back the other five. And don't be afeard I shall dis- 
grace you, for I'll never look on your face agin ; and you're a wicked 
bad man— that's what you are." 

The poor woman's voice was so raised, and so shrill, that any other 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 250 

tnd more remorseful feeling which Ilichard might have conceived was 
drowned in his apprehension that she would be overheard by his ser- 
vants or his guests — a masculine apprehension, with which' females 
rarely sympathise; which, on the contrary, they are inclined to 
consider a mean and cowardly terror on the part of their male 
oppressors. 

" Hush ! hold your infernal squall— do ! " said Mr. Avenel in a tone 
that he meant to be soothing. " There — sit down — and don't stir till 
I come back again, and can talk to you calmly. Leonard, follow me, 
&n>i help to explain things to our guests." 

Leonard stood still, but shook his head slightly. 

" What do you mean, sir ?" said Richard Avenel, in a very porten- 
tous growl. " Shaking your head at me ? Do you intend to aisobey 
me? You had better take care ! " 

Leonard's front rose ; he drew one arm round his mother, and thus 
he spoke : — 

" Sir, you have been kind to me, and generous, and that tnought 
alone silenced my indignation, when I heard you address such lan- 
guage to my mother ; for I felt that, if I spoke, I should say too 
much. Now I speak, and it is to say, shortly, that — " 

" Hush, boy," said poor Mrs. Fairfield, frightened : " don't mind 
me. I did not come to make mischief, and ruin tout prospex. I'll 
qo!" 

"Will you ask her pardon, Mr. Avenel?" said Leonard firmly; 
and he advanced towards his uncle. 

Ilichard, naturally hot and intolerant of contradiction, was then 
excited, not only by the angry emotions which, it must be owned, a 
man so mortified, and in the very flush of triumph, might well expe- 
rience, but by much more wine than he was in the habit of drinking ; 
and when Leonard approached him, he misinterpreted the movement 
into one of menace and aggression. He lifted his arm : " Come a 
step nearer," said he, between his teeth, " and I'll knock you down." 
Leonard advanced the forbidden step ; but as Richard caught his eye, 
there was something in that eye — not defying, not threatening, but 
bold and dauntless — which Richard recognised and respected, for that 
something spoke the Freeman. The uncle's arm mechanically fell to 
his side. 

" You cannot strike me, Mr. Avenel," said Leonard, " for you are 
aware that I could not strike again my mother's brother. As her son, 
I once more say to you. — ask her pardon." 

" Ten thousand devils ! Are you mad? — or do you want to diive 
me mad ? you insolent beggar, fed and clothed by my charity. Ask 
her pardon ! — what for ? That she has made me the object of jeer and 
ridicule with that d — d cotton gown, and those double d — d thick 
shoes. I vow and protest they've got nails in them ! Hark ye, sir, 
I've been insulted hy her, but I'm not to be bulhed by you. Come 
with me instantly, or I discard you ; not a shilling of mine shall you 
have as long as 1 live. Take your choice — be a peasant, a labourer, 
or—" 

" A base renegade to natural affection, a degraded beggar indeed !" 
Cried Leonard, his breast heavins, aud his cheeks in a glow. " Mother, 



270 HT KOVJSL; OS, 

mother, come a way. Never fear — I have strength and youth, and we 
will work together as before." 

But poor Mrs. Fairfield, overcome by her excitement, had sunk 
down into Richard's own handsome morocco leather easy-chair, and 
could neither speak nor stir. 

" Confound you both ! " muttered Richard. " You can't be seen 
creeping out of my house now. Keep her here, you young viper, 
you • keep her till I come back ; and then, if you choose to go, go 
and be " 

Not finishing his sentence, Mr. Avenel hurried out of the room, 
and locked the door, putting the key into his pocket. He paused for 
a moment in the Hall, in order to collect his thoughts — drew three or 
four deep breaths— gave himself a great shake— and, resolved to be 
faithful to his principle of doing one thing at a time, shook off in 
that shake all disturbing recollection of his mutinous captives. Stern 
as Achilles when he appeared to the Trojans, Richard Avenel stalked 
back to his lawn. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Brief as had been his absence, the host could see that, in the 
interval, a great and notable change had come over the spirit of his 
company. Some of those who lived in the town were evidently pre- 
paring to return home on foot ; those who lived at a distance, and 
whose carriages (having been sent away, and ordered to return at a 
fixed hour) had not yet arrived, were gathered together in small 
knots and groups ; all looked sullen and displeased, and all instinc- 
livclv turned from their host as he passed them by. They felt they 
had been lectured, and they were more put out than Richard himself. 
They did not know if they might not be lectured again. This vulgar 
man, of what might he not be capable? 

Richard's shrewd sense comprehended in an instant all the diffi- 
culties of his position • but he walked on deliberately and directly 
towards Mrs. M'Catchley, who was standing near the grand marquee 
n-ith the Pomplevs and the Dean's lady. As these personages saw 
him make thus boldly towards them, there was a nutter. " Hang 
the fellow !" said the Colonel, intrenching himself in his stock, " he 
is coming here. Low and shocking — what shall we do ? Let us 
stroll on." 

But Richard threw himself in the way of the retreat. 

" Mrs. M'Catchley," said he, very gravely, and offering her tab 
ana, " allow me three words with you." _ 

The poor widow looked very much discomposed. Mrs. Pompley 
pulled her by the sleeve. Richard still stood gazing into her face* 
with his arm extended. She hesitated a minute, and then took the 
arm. 

'"' Monstrous impudent ! " cried the Colonel. 

" Let Mrs. M'Catchley alone, my dear," responded Mrs. Pompley j 
" she will know how to give him a lesson." 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 27i 

" Madam,'" said Richard, as soon as he and his companion were out 
■A hearing, " 1 rely on you to do me a favour." 

"On me?" 

" On yon, and you alone. You have influence with all those people, 
and a word from you will effect what 1 desire. Mrs. M'Catchley," 
added Richard, with a solemnity that was actually imposing, " I 
(latter myself that you have some friendship for me, which is more 
than I can say of any other soul in these grounds — will you do me 
this favour, ay or no?" 

" What is it, Mr. Avenel?" asked Mrs. M'Catchley, much dis- 
turbed, and somewhat softened — for she was by no means a woman 
without feeling ; indeed, she considered herself nervous. 

" Get all your friends — all the company, in short — to come back 
into the tent for refreshments — for anything. I want to say a few 
words to them." 

" Bless me ! Mr. Avenel — a few words ! " cried the widow ; " but 
that's just what they're all afraid of ! You must pardon me, but you 
really can't ask people to a dejeune danutnt, and then — scold 'em !" 

" I'm cot #oing to scold them," said Mr. Avenel, very seriously — 
" upon my honour, I'm not ! I'm going to make all right, and 1 
even hope afterwards that the dancing may go on — and that you will 
honour rue again with your hand. I leave you to your task ; and 
believe me, I'm not an ungrateful man." He spoke, and bowed — 
not without some dignity — and vanished within the breakfast division 
of the marquee. There he busied himself in re-collecting the waiters, 
and directing them to re-arrange the mangled remains of the table as 
they best could. Mrs. M'Catchley, whose curiosity and interest were, 
aroused, executed her commission with all the ability and tact of a 
woman of the world, and in less than a quarter of an hour the 
marquee was filled — the^ corks flew — the champagne bounced and 
sparkled — people drank in silence, munched fruits and cakes, kept 
up their courage with the conscious sense of numbers, and felt a 
great desire to know what was coming. Mr. Avenel, at the head of 
the table, suddenly rose. 

" Ladies and Gentlemen," said he, " I have taken the liberty to 
invite you once more into this tent, in order to ask you to sympathise 
with me upon an occasion which took us all a little by surprLi 
to-day. 

" Of course, you all know I am a new man — the maker of my own 
fortunes." 

A great many heads bowed involuntarily. The words were said 
manfully, and there was a general feeling of respect. 

" Probably, too," resumed Mr. Avenel, " you may know that 1 am 
the son of very honest tradespeople. I say honest, and they are not 
ashamed of me — I say tradespeople, and I'm not ashamed of them. 
My sister married and settled at a distance. I took her son to edu- 
cate and bring up. But I did not tell her where he was, nor eyei: 
that I had returned from America — I wished to choose my own time 
for that, when I could give her the surprise, not only of a rich brother, 
but of a son whom I intended to make a gentleman, so far as maimer:? 
scci' oducation can make one. Well, the poor dear woman has found 



S!?2 MY NOVEL; OK, 

rae out sooner than I expected, and turned the tables on me by giving 
me a surprise of her own invention. Pray, forgive the confusion this 
little family scene has created; and though I own it was very laugh- 
able at the moment, and I was wrong to say otherwise, yet I am sure 
I don't judge ill of your good hearts when I ask you to think what 
brother and sister must feel who parted from each other when they 
were boy and girl. To mc (and Richard gave a great gulp— for he 
felt that a great gulp alone could swallow the abominable he lie was 
about to utter)— to me this has been a very happy occasion! I'm a 
plain man : no one can take ill what I've said. And, wishing that 
you may be all as happy in your family as I am in mine— humble 
though it be— 1 beg to drink your very good healths !" 

There was a universal applause when Richard sat down ; and so 
well in his plain way had he looked the thing, and done the tiling, 
that at least half of those present — who till then had certainly dis- 
liked and half-despised him — suddenly felt that they were proud of 
his acquaintance. For however aristocratic this country of ours may 
be, and however especially aristocratic be the genteeler classes in 
provincial towns and coteries— there is nothing which English folks, 
from the highest to the lowest, in their hearts so respect as a man 
who has risen from nothing, and owns it frankly. Sir Compton Deia- 
val an old baronet, with a pedigree as long as a Welshman's, who 
had been reluctantly decoyed to the feast by his three unmarried 
daughters — not one of whom, however, had hitherto condescended 
even to bow to the host — now rose. It was his right — he was the 
first person there in rank and station. 

" Ladies and Gentlemen," quoth Sir Compton Delaval, " I am sure 
that I express the feelings of all present when I say that we have 
heard with great delight and admiration the words addressed to us 
by our excellent host. (Applause.) And if any of us, in what Mr. 
Avcncl describes justly as the surprise of the moment, were betrayed 
into an unseemly merriment at — at — (the Dean's lady whispered 
' uome of the') — some of the — some of the — " repeated Sir Compton, 
puzzled, and coming to a dead lock — (' holiest sentiments,' whispered 
lbe Dean's lady) — "ay, some of the holiest sentiments in our nature 
- -I beg him to accept our sincerest apologies. I can only say, for 
my part, that I am proud to rank Mr. Avenel amongst the gentlemen 
cf the counl y (iicre Sir Compton gave a sounding thump on the table), 
b\A to thank him for one of the most brilliant entertamments it has 
ever been my lot to witness. If he won his fortune honestly, he knows 
how to spend it nobly." 

Whiz went a fresh bottle of champagne. 

" I am not accustomed to public speaking, but I could not repress 
my sentiments. And I've now only to propose to you the healkij of 
our host, Richard Avenel, Esquire ; and to couple with that the health 
of his — very interesting sister, and long life to them both." 

The sentence was half-drowned in enthusiastic plaudits, and hi 
three cheers for Richard Avenel, Esquire, and his very interesting 

" I'm a cursed humbug," thought Richard Avenel, a-, he wiped 
his forehead ; " but the world is such a humbug ! " 



VARIETIES IN EKGL1SH LIfE. 573 

Then he glanced towards Mrs. M'Catchley, and, to his great, 
satisfaction saw Mrs. M'Catchiey with her handkerchief before her 

c y cs - 

Truth must be told — although the fair widow might certamiy nave 
contemplated the probability of accepting Mr. Avenel as a husband, 
she had never before felt the least bit in love with him ; and now she 
did. There is something in courage and candour — at a word, in man- 
liness — that all women, the most worldly, do admire in men; and 
liichard Avenel, humbug though his conscience said he was, seemed 
to Mrs. M'Catchley like a hero. 

The host saw his triumph. : ' Now for another dance ! " said he, 
gaily ; and he was about to offer his hand to Mrs. M'Catchley, when 
Sir Compton Delaval, seizing it, and giving it a hearty shake, cried, 
" You have not yet danced with my eldest daughter : so, if you'll not 
;isk her, whv, I must offer her to you as your partner. Here — 
Sarah." 

Miss Sarah Delaval, who was five feet eight, and as stately as she 
was tall, bowed her head graciously ; and Mr. Avenel, before he knew 
where he was, found her leaning on his arm. But as he passed into 
the next division of the tent, he had to run the gauntlet of all the 
gentlemen, who thronged round to shake hands with him. Their 
warm English hearts could not be satisfied till they had so repaired 
1 he sin of their previous haughtiness and mockery. Richard Avenel 
might then have safely introduced his sister — gown, kerchief, thick 
shoes and all — to the crowd; but he had no such thought. He 
thanked Heaven devoutly that she was safely under lock and key. 

It was not till the third dance that he could secure Mrs. M'Catch- 
ley's hand, and then it was twilight. The carriages were at the door, 
but no one yet thought of going. People were really enjoying them- 
selves. Mr. Avenel had had time, in the interim, to mature all his 
plans for completing and consummating that triumph which his tact 
and pluck had drawn from his momentary disgrace. Excited as he 
was with wine and suppressed passion, he had yet the sense to feel 
that, when all the halo that now surrounded him had evaporated, and 
Mrs. M'Catchley was re-delivered up to the Pompleys, whom he felt 
to be the last persons his interest could desire for her advisers — the 
thought of his low relations could return with calm reflection. Now 
was the time. The iron was hot — now was the time to strike it, and 
forge the enduring chain. 

As he led Mrs. M'Catchley after the dance into the lawn, he there- 
re said tenderly 

" How shall 1 thank you for the favour you have done me ? " 

" Oh !" said Mrs. M'Catchley warmly, "it was no favour— and i 
am so glad " She stopped. 

'' Xou're not ashamed of me. then, in spite of what has hap- 
pened?" 

" Ashamed of you ! Why, I should be so proud of you, if 1 
were " 

" Finish the sentence and say — ' jour wife ! ' — there, it is out. My 
dear madam, I am rich, as you know ; I love you very heartily. Witt 
your help, I think I can make a figure in a larger world than this : 

vol. i. i 



274 MT SOVEL; OK, 

and that, whatever my father, mv grandson at least will be — but it is 
time enough to speak of him. What say you ?— you turn away. I'll 
not tease you — it is not my way. I said before, ay or uo ; and your 
Idndness so emboldens me that I say it again — ay or no ? " 

" But you take me so unawares — so — so — Lord, my dear Mr. 
Avenel: you are so hasty— I— I—." And tli3 widow actually 
blushed, and was genuinely bashful. 

" Those horrid Pompleys ! " thought Richard, as he saw the Colonel 
bustling up with Mrs. M'Catchley's cloak on his arm. 

" I press for your answer," continued the suitor, speaking very 
fast. ' I shall leave this place to-mon^t., if you will not give it." 
" Leave this place — leave me ? " 
" Then you will be mine ! " 

" All, Mr. Avenel ! " said the widow, languidly, and leaving her 
hand in his ; " who can resist you ? " 

Up came Colonel Pompley ; Richard took the shawl : " No hurry 
for that now, Colonel — Mrs. M'Catchley feels already at home here." 
Ten minutes afterwards, Richard Avenel so contrived that it was 
known bv the whole company that their host was accepted by the 
Honourable Mrs. M'Catchley. And every one said, " He is a very 
clever man, and a very good fellow," except the Pompleys— and the 
Pompleys were frantic. Mr. Ricliard Avenel had forced his way into 
the aristocracy of the country ; the husband of an Honourable — con- 
nect cd with peers ! 
" He will stand for our city — Vulgarian ! " cried the Colonel. 
" And his wife will walk out before me," cried the Colonel's lady — 
"nasty woman ! " And she burst into tears. 

The guests were gone; and Richard had now leisure to consider 
what course to pursue with regard to his sister and her son. 

His victory over his guests had in much softened his heart to- 
wards his relations; but he still felt bitterly aggrieved at Mrs. 
Fairfield's unseasonable intrusion, and his pride was greatly chafed 
by the boldness of Leonard. He had no idea of any man whom he 
had served, or meant to serve, having a will of his own — having 
a single thought in opposition to his pleasure. He began, too, to 
feel that words had passed between him and Leonard which could 
not be well forgotten by either, and would render their close con- 
nection less pleasant than heretofore. He, the great Richard 
Avenel, beg pardon of Mrs. Fairfield, the washerwoman ! No ; she 
and Leonard must beg his. " That must be the first step," said 
Richard Avenel ; " andf I suppose they have come to their senses." 
With that expectation he unlocked the door of his parlour, and 
found himself in complete solitude. The moon, lately risen, shone 
full into the room and lit up every corner. He stared round be- 
wildered—the birds had flown. "Did they go through the key- 
hole ? " said Mr. Avenel. " Ha ! I see !— the window is open ! '' 
The window reached to the ground. Mr. Avenel, in his excite- 
ment, had forgotten that easy mode of egress. 

" Well," said he, throwing himself into his easy-chair, " I sup- 
pose I shall soon hear from them : they'll be wanting my money fast 
CEOugh, T. fancy." His eve caught sight of a letter, unsealed. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 275 

lying on the table. He opened it, and saw bank-notes to the 
amount of £50 — the widow's forty-five country notes, and a new 
note, Bank of England, that he had lately given to Leonard. With 
the money were these lines, written in Leonard's bold, clear writing, 
though a word or two here and there showed that the hand had 
trembled— 

" I thank you for all you have done to one whom you regarded 
as the object of charity. My mother and 1 forgive what has 
passed. I depart with her. You bade me make my choice, and 
I have made it. 

" Leonard Eairfield." 

The paper dropped from Richard's hand, and he remained mute 
and remorseful for a moment. He soon felt, however, that he had 
no help for it but working himself up into a rage. " Of all people 
in the world,'' cried Richard, stamping his foot on the floor, there 
are none so disagreeable, insolent, and ungrateful as poor relations. 
I wash my hands of them ! " 



BOOK VI. 

INITIAL CHAPTER. 

WHEREIN MR. CAXTON IS PROFOUNDLY METAPHYSICAL. 

" Life," said my father, in his most dogmatical tone, " is a cer- 
tain quantity in time, which may be regarded in two ways — 1st, 
as life Integral; 2nd, as life Fractional. Life integral is that com- 
plete whole, expressive of a certain value, large or small, which 
each man possesses in himself. Life fractional is that same whole 
seized upon and invaded by other people, and subdivided amongst 
them. They who get a large slice of it say, ' A very valuable Hfe 
this!' — those who get but a small handful say, 'So, so; nothing 
very great ! ' — those who get none of it in the scramble exclaim, 
* Good for nothing ! '" 

"I don't understand a word you are saying," growled Captain 
Roland. 

My father surveyed his brother with compassion — "I will make 
it all clear, even to your understanding. When I sit down by 
myself in my study, having carefully locked the door on all of yon, 
alone with my books and thoughts, I am in full possession of my 
integral life. I am totus, teres, atque rotundas — a whole human 
being— equivalent in value, we will say, for the sake of illustration, 
to a fixed round sum — £100 for example. But when I go forth inti 
the common apartment, each of those to whom I am of any worfa 

T 2 



276 All XOVEL OK 

whatsoever puts his finger into the bag that contains me, and takes 
out of me what he wants. Kitty requires me to pay a bill ; Pisistra 
tus to save him the time and trouble of looking into a score or two of 
hooks ; the children to tell them stories, or play at hide-and-seek ; 
and so on throughout the circle to which I have incautiously given 
myself up for plunder and subdivision. The £100 which I repre- 
sented in my study is now parcelled out ; I am worth £40 or £50 to 
Kitty, £20 to Pisistratus, and perhaps 30s. to the children. This is 
life fractional. And I cease to be an integral till once more return- 
ing to my study, and again closing the door on all existence but my 
own. Meanwhile, it is perfectly clear that, to those who, whether I 
am in the study, or whether I am in the common sitting-room, get 
nothing at all out of me, 1 am not worth a farthing. It must be 
wholly indifferent to a native of Kamschatka whether Austin Caxton 
be or be not raised out of the great account-book of human beings. 

" Hence," continued my father, — " hence it follows that the more 
fractional a life is — id est, the greater the number of persons among 
whom it can be subdivided — why, the more there are to say, ' A very 
valuable life that ! ' Thus, the leader of a political party, a conqueror, 
a king, an author, who is amusing hundreds, or thousands, or millions, 
has a greater number of persons whom his worth interests and affects 
than a Saint Simon Stvlites could have when he perched himself at 
the top of a column ; although, regarded each in himself, Saint Simon, 
in his grand mortification ot flesh, in the idea that he thereby pleased 
his Divine Benefactor, might represent a larger sum of moral value 
oer se, than Buonaparte or Voltaire." 

Pisistratus. — Perfectly clear, sir ; but I don't see what it has to 
do with My Novel. 

Me. Caxton. — Everything. Your novel, if it is to be a full and 
comprehensive survey of the " Quicquid aguiit homines" (which it 
ought to be, considering the length and breadth to which I foresee, 
from the slow development of your story, you meditate extending and 
expanding it), will embrace the two views of existence— the integral 
and the fractional. You have shown us the former in Leonard, when 
he is sitting in his mother's cottage, or resting from his work by the 
little fount in Riccabocca's garden. And in harmony with that view 
of his life, you have surrounded him with comparative integrals, only 
subdivided by the tender hands of their immediate families and neigh- 
bours — your Squires and Parsons, your Italian exile and his Jemima. 
With all these, life is, more or less, the life Natural, and this is always, 
more or less, the life Integral. Then comes the hfe Artificial, which 
is always, more or less, the life Fractional. In the life Natural, 
wherein we are swayed but by our own native impulses and desires, 
subservient only to the great silent law ofVirirae(wnicn nas pervaded 
the universe since it swung out of chaos), a man is of worth from what 
he is in himself — Newton was as worthy before the apple fell from 
the tree as when all Europe applauded the discoverer ofthe Principle 
of Gravity. But in the life Artificial we are only of worth inasmuch as 
we affect others. And, relative to that life, Newton rose in value 
more than a million per cent, when down fell the apple from which, 
ultimately, sprang up his discovery. In order to keep civilization 



VARIETIES IN 1'NGLISII Llr't. 277 

ffoftig. and spread over the world the light of human intellect, we 
nave certain desires within us, ever swelling beyond the case ana 
independence which belong to us as integrals. Cold man as Newton 
might be (he once took a lady's hand in his own, Kitty, and used her 
forefinger for his tobacco-stopper ; — great philosopher !) — cold as he 
might be, he was yet moved into giving his discoveries to the world, 
and that from motives very little differing in their quality from the 
motives that make Dr. Squills communicate articles to the Phreno- 
logical Journal upon the skulls of Bushmen and wombats. For it is 
the property of light to travel. "When a man has light in him, forth 
it must go ; But the first passage of Genius from its integral state 
(in which it has been reposing on its own wealth) into the fractional, 
is usually through a hard and vulgar pathway. It leaves behind it 
the reveries of solitude, that self-contemplating rest which may be 
called the Visionary, and enters suddenly into the state that may be 
called the Positive and Actual. There, it sees the operations of 
money on the outer life — sees all the ruder and commoner springs of 
action — sees ambition without nobleness — love without romance — is 
bustled about, and ordered, and trampled, and cowed — in short, it 
passes an apprenticeship with some Richard Avenel, and does not yet 
detect what good and what grandeur, what addition even to the true 
poetry of the social universe, fractional existences like Richard 
Avenel's bestow ; for the pillars that support society are like those of 
the Court of the Hebrew Tabernacle — they are of brass, it is true, but 
they are filleted with silver. Prom such intermediate state Genius is 
expelled and driven on in its way, and would have been so in this case 
had Mrs. Fairfield (who is but the representative of the homely 
natural affections, strongest ever in true genius — for light is warm) 
never crushed Air. Avenel's moss-rose on her sisterly bosom. Now, 
forth from this passage and defile of transition into the larger world, 
must Genius go on, working out its natural destiny amidst things and 
forms the most artificial. Passions that move and influence the world 
are at work around it. Often lost sight of itself, its very absence is 
a silent contrast to the agencies present. Merged and vanished for a 
while amidst the Practical World, yet we ourselves feel all the while 
that it is there; is at work amidst the workings around it. This 
practical world that effaces it, rose out of some genius that has gone 
before ; and so each man of genius, though we never come across 
him, as his operations proceed, in places remote from our thorough- 
fares, is yet influencing the practical world that ignores him, for ever 
and ever. That is genius ! We can't describe it in books — we can 
only hint and suggest it, by the accessories which we artfully heap 
about it._ The entrance of a true Probationer into 1 he terrible ordeal 
of Practical Life is like that into the miraculous cavern, by which, 
legend informs us, St. Patrick converted Ireland. 

Blanche. — What is that legend ? I never heard of it. 

Mu. Caxton. — My dear, you will find it in a thin folio at the right 
on entering my study, written by Thomas Messingham, and called 
"Florilegium Insulee Sanctorum," &c. The account therein is con 
firmed by the relation of an honest soldier, oue Louis Ennius, who 
Ssad actually entered the cavern. In short, the truth of the legend i> 



27S mt novel; or, 

undeniable, unless you mean to say, which I can't for a moment sup. 
pose, that Louis Ennius was a liar. Thus it runs : St. Patrick, finding 
that the Irish pagans were incredulous as to his pathetic assurancej 
of the pains and torments destined to those who did not expiate their 
sins in this world, prayed for a miracle to convince them. His prayer 
was heard ; and a certain cavern, so small that a man could not stand 
up therein at his case, was suddenly converted into a Purgatory, com- 
prehending tortures sufficient to convince the most incredulous. One 
unacquainted with human nature might conjecture that few would be 
disposed to venture voluntarily into such a place; — on the contrary, 
pilgrims came in crowds. Now, all who entered from vain curiosity, 
or with souls unprepared, perished miserably ; but those who entered 
with deep and earnest faith, conscious of their faults, and if bold, yet 
humble, not only came out. safe and sound, but purified, as if from the 
waters of a second baptism. See Savage and Johnson, at night in 
Fleet Street ;— and who shall doubt the truth of St. Patrick's Purga- 
tory !— (Therewith my father sighed— closed his Lucian, which had 
lain open on the table, and would read none but "good boob" 
for the rest of the evening.) 



CHAPTER II. 



Ox their escape from the prison to which Mr. Avenel had con 
demnod them, Leonard and his mother found their way to a small 
public-house that lay at a little distance from the town, and on the 
outskirts of the hidi-road. With his arm round his mother's waist, 
Leonard supported her steps, and soothed her excitement. In fact, 
the poor woman's nerves were great lv shaken, and she felt an uneasy 
remorse at the injury her intrusion had inflicted on the young man's 
worldly prospects. As the shrewd reader has guessed already, that 
lnlamous Tinker was the prime agent of evil in this critical turn in 
tne arlairs of his quondam customer. For, on his return to his haunts 
around Hazcldean and the Casino, the Tinker had hastened to apprise 
™,Wo °j, h » ftemew with Leonard, and, on finding that she 
was not aware that the boy was under the roof of his uncle, the pes- 
tilent vagabond (perhaps from spite against Mr. Avenel, or perhaps 

fcfilZn T ° f n, T hi £ ty wbich metaphysical critics explain 
the character ot 1 ago and winch certainly formed a main element in 
the idiosyncrasy of Mr. Sprott.) had so impressed oT?he wfdow's 
mind the haughty demeanour of the uncle and the refined costume of 
the nephew, that Mrs. Fairfield had been seked wifh *{ °bfte and 
insupportable jealousy. Ihere was an intention to rob her of her hoy! 
-he was to be made oo fine for her. His silence was now accounted 
for. This sort of jealousy, a ways more or less a feminine aualitv is 
often very strong amongst the poor- and it was the more strong hi 
Mrs. Fairfield, because, lone woman that she was, the bov was all in 
all to her. And though she was reconciled to the loss of his nresence 
nothing could reconcile her to the thought that his affectiais *houic! 



VARIETIES IN' ENGLISH LiliJ. *V'J 

be weaned from her. Moreover, there were in her mind certain 
impressions, of the justice of which the reader may better judge here- 
after, as to the gratitude — more than ordinarily filial — which Leonard 
owed! to her. In short, she did not like, as she phrased it, "to be 
shaken off;" and after a sleepless nigbt she resolved to judge for her- 
self, much moved thereto by the malicious suggestions to that effect 
made by Mr. Sprott, who mightily enjoyed the idea of mortifying the- 
gentleman by whom he had been so disrespectfully threatened with 
the treadmill. The widow felt angry with Parson Dale, and with the 
lliccaboccas : she thought they were in the plot against her : she 
communicated, therefore, her intentions to none — and off she set, 
performing the journey partly on the top of the coach, partly on foot. 
l\o wonder that she was dusty, poor woman. 

"And, boy!" said she, hall -sobbing, "when I got through the 
lodge-gates, came on the lawn, and saw all that power o' fine foiii — 
I said to myself, says I — (for I felt fritted) — I'll just have a look at 
him and go back. But ah, Lenny, when I saw thee, lookmg so 
handsome — and when thee turned and cried 'mother,' my heart 
was just ready to leap out o' my mouth — and so I could not help 
hugging thee, if I had died for it. And thou wert so kind, that I for- 
got all Mr. Sprott had said about Dick's pride, or thought he had 
just told a fib about that, as he had wanted me to believe a fib about 
thee. Then Dick came up — and I had not seen him for so many years — 
and we come o' the same father and mother ; and so — and so — " The 
widow's sobs here fairly choked her. "Ah," she said, after giving 
vent to her passion, and throwing her arms round Leonard's "neck, as 
they sat in the little sanded parlour of the public-house — " Ah, and 
I've brought thee to this. Go back ; go back, boy, and never mind 
me." 

With some difficulty Leonard pacified poor Mrs. Fairfield, and got 
her to retire to bed ; for she was, indeed, thoroughly exhausted. He 
then stepped forth into the road, musingly. All the stars were out ; 
and Youth, in its troubles, instinctively looks up to the stars. Fold- 
ing his arms, Leonard gazed on the heavens, and his lips murmured. 

From this trance, for so it might be called, he was awakened by a 
voice in a decidedly London accent ; and, turning hastily round, saw 
Mr. Avenei's very gentleman-like butler. Leonard's first idea was 
that his uncle had repented, and sent in search of him. But the 
butler seemed as much surprised at the rencontre as himself : that per- 
sonage, indeed, the fatigues uf the day being over, was accompanying 
one of Mr. Gunter's waiters to the public -house (at which the latter 
had secured his lodging), having discovered an old friend in the 
waiter, and proposing to regale himself with a cheerful glass, and — 
(that, of course,) — abuse of his present situation. 

_ " Mr. Fairfield ! " exclaimed the butler, while the waiter walked 
discreetly on. 

Leonard looked, and said nothing. The butler began to think that 
some apology was due for leaving his plate and his pantry, and that 
he might as well secure Leonard's propitiatory influence with his 
muster. 

"'Please, sir," said he, touching his hat, "I was just a-showing 



280 KY KOVBL 

M r . Giles the way to the Blue Bells, where he puts uo for tlic m?nt, 
I hope my master will not be offended. If you are a-going back, sir, 
would you kindly mention it ? " 

" I am net going back, Jarvis," answered Leonard, after a pause • 
" I am leaving Mr. Avenel's house to accompany my mother : rather 
suddenly. I should be very much, obliged to you if you would bring 
some things of mine to me at the Blue Bells. I will give you the 
list, if you will step with me to the inn." 

Without waiting for a reply, Leonard then turned towards the inn, 
and made his humble inventory ; — item, the clothes he had brought 
with him from the Casino ; item, the knapsack that had contained 
them ; item, a few books, ditto ; item, Dr. Biccabocca's watch ■ 
item, sundry MSS., on which the young student now built all hit 
hopes of fame and fortune. This list he put into Mr. Jarvis's hand. 

" Sir, said the butler, twirling the paper between his finger and 
thumb, " you're not a-going for long, I hope ?" and he looked on the 
face of the young man, who had always been "civil-spoken to him," 
■with as much curiosity and as much compassion as so apathetic and 
princely a personage could experience in matters affecting a family 
less aristocratic than he had hitherto condescended to serve. 

" Yes," said Leonard, simply and briefly ; " and your master will 
no doubt excuse you for rendering me this service." 

Mr. Jarvis postponed for the present his glass and chat with the 
waiter, and went back at once to Mr. Avenel. That gentleman, still 
seated in his library, had not been aware of the butler's absence ; and 
when Mr. Jarvis entered and told him that he had met Mr. Fairfield, 
and, communicating the commission with which he was intrusted, 
asked leave to execute it, Mr. Avenel felt the man's inquisitive eye 
was on him, and conceived new wrath against Leonard for a new 
humiliation to his pride. It was awkward to give no explanation of 
his nephew's departure, still more awkward to explain. 

After a short pause, Mr. Avenel said, sullenly, " My nephew is 
going away on business for some time — do what he tells you ;" and 
then turned his back, and lighted his cigar. 

"That beast of a boy," said he, soliloquising, " either means this 
as an affront, or an overture : if an affront, he is, indeed, well got rid 
of; if an overture, he will soon make a more respectful and proper 
one. After all, I can't have too little of relations till I have fairly 
secured Mrs. M'Catchley. An Honourable ! I wonder if that makes 
me an Honourable too? Tins cursed Debrett contains no practical 
information on those points." 

The next morning, the clothes and the watch with which Mr. 
Avenel presented Leonard were returned, with a note meant to 
express gratitude, but certainly written with very little knowled?'- 
of the world, and so full of that somewhat over-resentful pride which 
had in earlier life made Leonard fly from Hazeldean, and refuse all 
apology to Randal, that it is not to be wondered at that Mr. Avenel's 
last remorseful feelings evaporated in ire. "I hope he will starve ! " 
said the uncle, vindictively. 



CHAPTER DI. 

" Listen to me, my dear mother," said Leonard, the next morning 
?,s with knapsack on his shoulder and Mrs. Fairfield on his arm, lie 
talked along the high-road; "I do assure you, from my heart, that 
I do not regret the loss of favours which I see plainly would have 
crushed out of me the very sense of independence. But do not fenr 
for me; 1 have education and energy — I shall do well for myself, 
trust me. No, I cannot, it is true, go back to our cottage — 1 eannoi 
be a gardener again. Don't ask me — I should be discontented, 
miserable. Bat I will go up to London ! That's the place to make 
a fortune and a name : 1 will make both. yes, trust me, I will, 
fou shall soon be proud of your Leonard ; and then wc will always 
live together — always ! Don't cry." 

" But what can you do in Lunnon — such a big place, Lenny ? " 

"What ! Every year does not some lad leave our village, and go 
and seek his fortune, taking with him but health and strong hands ': 
I have these, and I have more : I have brains, and thoughts, and 
hopes, that — again I say, No, no — never fear for me ! " 

The boy threw back his head proudly ; there was something 
sublkne in his young trust in the future. 

" Well. But you will write to Mr. Dale, or to me ? I will get 
Mr. Dale or the good Mounseer (now I know they were not agin me) 
to read vour letters." 

"I will, indeed!" 

" And, boy, you have nothing in your pockets. We have paid 
Dick ; these, at least, are my own, after paying the coach-fare." 
And she would thrust a sovereign and some s hillin gs into Leonard's 
waistcoat pocket. 

After some resistance, he was forced to consent. 

"And there's a sixpence with a hole in it. Don't part with that, 
Lenny ; it will bring thee good luck." 

Thus talking, they gained the inn where the three roads met, and 
from which a coach went direct to the Casino. And here, without 
entering the inn, they sat on the greensward by the hedgerow, wait- 
ing the arrival of the coach. Mrs. Fairfield was much subdued in 
spirits, and there was evidently on her mind something uneasy — 
some struggle with her conscience. She not only upbraided herse!f 
for her rasn visit, but she kept talking of her dead Mark. And what 
would he say of her, if he could see her in heaven ? 

" It was so selfish in me, Lenny." 

" Pooh, pooh ! Has not a mother a right to her child ? " 

" Ay, ay, ay ! " cried Mrs. Fairfield. " I do love you as a child— my 
own child. But if I was not your mother, after all, Lenny, and cost 
you all this — oh, what would you say of me then ? " 

" Not my own mother ! " said Leonard, laughing, as he kissed her. 
' Well. I don't know what I should say then differently from what 



282 HI' NOVEL; OIU 

I say now — that you, who brought me up, and nursed aud cherished 
me, had a right to my home and my heart, wherever 1 was." 

" Bless thee ! " cried Mrs. Fairfield, as she pressed him to her 
heart. " But it weighs here — it weighs," she said, starting up. 

At that instant the coach appeared, and Leonard ran forward tc 
inquire if there was an outside place. Then there was a snort bustle 
while the horses were being changed ■ and Mrs. Fairfield was lifted 
up to the roof of the vehicle. So all farther private conversation 
between her and Leonard ceased. But as the coach whirled away, 
and she waved her hand to the boy, who stood on the road-side 
gazing after her, she still murmured — " It weighs here — it weighs ! " 



CHAPTER IV. 

Leonard walked sturdily on in the high-road to the Great City 
The day was calm and sunlit, but with a gentle breeze from grey hill- 
at the distance ; and with each mile that he passed, his step seemed 
to grow more firm, and Ins front more elate. Oh! it is such joy in 
youth to be alone with one's day-dreams. And youth feels so glori- 
ous a vigour in the sense of its own strength, though the world he 
before and — against it ! Removed from that chilling counting-house 
— from the imperious will of a patron and master — all friendless, but 
all independent — the young adventurer felt a new being — felt his 
grand nature as Man. And on the Alan rushed the genius long inter- 
dicted and thrust aside — rushing back, with the first breath of adver- 
sity, to console — no ! the Man needed not consolation, — to kindle, to 
animal e, to rejoice! If there is a being in the world worthy of our 
envy, after we have grown wise pliilosophers of the fireside, it is not 
the palled voluptuary, nor the care-worn statesman, nor even the 
great prince of arts and letters, already crowned with the laurel, 
whose leaves are as fit for poison as for garlands • it is the young 
child of adventure and hope. Ay, and the emptier his purse, ten to 
one but the richer his heart, and the wider tne domains which his 
fancy enjoys as he goes on with kingly step to the Future. 

Not till towards the evening did our adventurer slacken his pace, and 
think of rest and refreshment. There, then, lay before him on either side 
the road, those wide patches of unenclosed land, which in England 
often denote the entrance to a village. Presently one or two neat 
cottages came in sight — then a small farm-house, with its yard 
and barns. And some way farther yet, he saw the sign swinging 
before an inn of some pretensions — the sort of inn often found on a 
long stage between two great towns, commonly called " The Half- 
way House." But the inn stood back from the road, having its own 
separate sward in front, whereon was a great beech-tree (from which 
the sign extended) and a rustic arbour— so that to gain the inn, the 
coaches that stopped there took a sweep from the main thoroughfare. 
Between our pedestrian and the inn there stood, naked and alone, on 
the common land, a church; our ancestors never would have cb.us<?3 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 28o 

that site for it ; therefore it was a modern church— modern Gothic — 
handsome to an eye not versed in the attributes of ecclesiastical 
architecture — very barbarous to an eye that was. Somehow or other 
the church looked cold and raw and uninviting. It looked a church 
for show — much too big for the scattered hamlet — and void of all the 
venerable associations which give their peculiar and unspeakable 
atmosphere of piety to the churches in which succeeding generations 
have knelt and worshipped. Leonard paused and surveyed the edifice 
with an unlearned but poetical gaze — it dissatisfied him. And he was 
yet pondering why, when a young girl passed slowly before him, her 
eyes fixed on the ground, opened the little gate that led into the 
churchyard and vanished. He did not see the child's face ; but there 
was Something in her movements so utterly listless, forlorn, and sad, 
that his heart was touched. What did she there ? He approached 
the low wall with a noiseless step, and looked over it wistfully. 

There, by a grave evidently quite recent, with no wooden tomb nor 
tombstone like the rest, the little girl had thrown herself, and she 
was sobbing loud and passionately. Leonard opened the gate, and 
approached her with a soft step. Mingled with her sobs, he heard 
broken sentences, wild and vain, as all human sorrowings over graven 
must be. 

" Father ! — oh, father ! do you not really hear me ? I am so lone — 
so lone ! Take me to you — take me ! " And she buried her face in 
the deep grass. 

" Poor child ! " said Leonard, in a half-whisper — " he is not there. 
Look above ! " 

The girl did not heed him — he put his arm round her waist gently 
— she made a gesture of impatience and anger, but she would not 
turn her face— and she clung to the grave with her hands. 

After clear sunny days the dews fall more heavily; and now, as the 
sun set, the herbage was bathed in a vaporous haze — a dim mist rose 
around. The young man seated himself heside her, and tried to draw 
the child to his breast. Then she turned eagerly, indignantly, and 
pushed him aside with jealous arms. He profa^d the grave. He 
understood her with Ins deep poet-heart, and rose. There was a pause. 

Leonard was the first to break it. 

" Come to your home with me, my child, and we will talk of Mm 1;;: 
the way." 

" Him ! Yvlio are you ? You did not know him ! " — said the girl, 
still with anger. " Go away — why do you disturb me ? I do no one 
harm. Go — go ! " 

" You do yourself harm, and that will grieve him if he sees you 
yonder ! Come ! " 

The child looked at him through her blinding tears, and his face 
softened and soothed her. 

" Go ! " she said, very plaintively, and in subdued accents. " I 
will but stay a minute more. I — I have so much to say yet." 
_ ljeonard left the churchyard, and waited without : and in a short 
time the child came forth, waved him aside as he approached her, and 
hurried away. He followed her at a distance, and saw her disappear 
within tie inn. 



9N4 MY NOVEL; OK, 



CHAPTER V. 

"Hip- -Hip — Hurrah!" Such was the sound that greeted on* 
young traveller as he reached the inn door — a sound joyous in itself, 
but sadly out of harmony with the feelings which the child sobbing on 
the tombless grave had left at his heart. The sound came from 
within, and was followed by thumps and stamps, and the jingle of 
glasses. A strong odour of tobacco was wafted to his olfactory sense. 
He hesitated a moment at the threshold. Before him, on benches 
under the beech-tree and within the arbour, were grouped sundry 
athletic forms with " pipes in the liberal air." 

The landlady, as she passed across the passage to the tap-room, 
caught sight of his form at the doorway, and came forward. Leonard 
still stood irresolute. He would have gone on his way, but for the 
child : she had interested him strongly. 

" You seem full, ma'am," said he. " Can I have accommodation for 
/he night ? " 

" Why, indeed, sir," said the landlady, civilly, " I can give you a 
bed-room, but I don't know where to put you meanwhile. The two 
parlours and the tap-room and the kitchen are all choke full. There 
has been a great cattle-fair in the neighbourhood, and I suppose we 
have as many as fifty farmers and drovers stopping here." 

" As to that, ma'am, I can sit in the bed-room you are kind enough 
to give me ; and if it does not cause you much trouble to let me have 
some tea there. I should be glad ; but I can wait your leisure. Do 
not put yourself out of the way for me." 

The landlady was touched by a consideration she was not much 
hanituatcd to receive from her bluff customers. 

" You speak very handsome, sir, and we will do our best to serve 
you, if you will excuse all faults. This way, sir." Leonard lowered 
Iris knapsack, stepped into the passage, with some difficulty forced 
his way through a knot of sturdy giants in top-boots or leathern 
gaiters, who were swarming in and out the tap-room, and followed his 
hostess upstairs to a little bed-room at the top of the house. 

" It is small, sir, and high," said the hostess, apologetically. 
"But there be four gentlemen farmers that have come a great 
distance, and all the first floor is engaged ; you will be more out of 
the noise here." 

"Nothing can suit me better. But, stay — pardon me;" ana 
Leonard, glancing at the garb of the hostess, observed she was not 
in mourning. ''A little girl whom I saw in the churchyard yondei, 
weeping very bitterly — is she a relation of yours? Poor child, she 
seems to have deeper feelings than are common at her age." 

"Ah, sir," said the landlady, putting the corner of her apron to her 
eyes, "it is a very sad story— I don't know what to do. Her father 
was taken ill on lis way to Lunnon, and stopped here, and has been 
buried four days. And the poor little girl seems to have no relations 
■—and where is she to go ? Larycr Jones says we must pass her ta 



YAKIETIES IN LXGLISH LIFE. 285 

Marybonc parish, where her father lived last ; and what's to become 
of her then? My heart bleeds to think on it." Here there rose 
such an uproar from below, that it was evident some quarrel had 
broken out ; and the hostess, recalled to her duties, hastened to carry 
thither her propitiatory influences. 

Leonard seated himself pensively by the little lattice. Here was 
some one more alone in the world than he. And she, poor orphan, 
had no stout man's heart to grapple with fate, and no golden 
miinuscripts that were to be as the " Open-Sesame " to the treasures 
of Aladdin. By-and-by, the hostess brought him up a tray with tea 
and other refreshments, and Leonard resumed his inquiries. "No 
relatives?" said lie; "surely the child must have some kinsfolk in 
London? Did her father leave no directions, or was he in posses- 
sion of his faculties ?" 

" Yes, sir ; he was quite reasonable like to the last. And I asked 
him if he had not anything on his mind, and he said, ' I have.' And 
I said, 'Your little girl, sir?' And he answered me, 'Yes, ma'am;' 
and laying his head on his pillow, he wept very quietly. I could not 
say more myself, for it set me off to see him cry so meekly ; but 
my husband is harder nor I, and he said, ' Cheer up, Mr. Digby ; bad 
not you better write to your friends ?' 

" ' Friends !' said the gentleman, in such a voice ! 'Friends ! I have 
but one, and I am going to Him ! I cannot take her there ! ' Then 
he seemed suddenly to recollect hisself, and called for his clothes, 
and rummaged in the pockets as if looking for some address, 
and could not find it. He seemed a forgetful kind of gentleman, 
and his hands were what I call helpless hands, sir! And then he 
gasped out, ' Stop — stop ! I never had the address. Write to Lord 

Les ,' something like Lord Lester ; but we could not make out 

the name. Indeed he did not finish it, for there was a rush of blood 
to his lips ; and though he seemed sensible when he recovered, (and 
knew us and his little girl too, till he went off smiling), he never 
spoke word more." 

"Poor man!" said Leonard, wiping his eyes. "But his little girl 
surely remembers the name that he did not finish ? " 

" No. She says he must have meant a gentleman whom they feati 
met in the Park not long ago, who was very kind to her father, and 
was Lord something; but she don't remember the name, for she- 
never saw him before or since, and her father talked very little about 
any one lately, but thought he should find some kind friends at 
Screwstown, and travelled down there with her from Lunnon. But 
she supposes he was disappointed, for he went out, came back, and 
merely told her to put up the things, as they must go back to 
Lunnon. And on his way there he — died. Hush, what's that ? 
I hope she did not overhear us. No, we were talking low. She 
has the next room to your'n, sir. I thought I heard her sobbing. 
Hush!" 

"In the next room? I hear nothing. Well, with your leave, 
I will speak to her before I quit vou. And had her father no money 
with bun?" 

" Yes a fr.w sovereigns, sir ; they paid foj his funeral, and there 1* 



28ti my novel; oh., 

a little left still — enough to take her to town ; for my husband said, 
says he, ' Hannah, the widow gave her mite, and we must not take 
the orphan's ;' and my husband is a hard man, too, sir — bless him !" 

" Let me take your hand, ma'am. God reward you both." 

" La, sir ! — why, even Dr. Dosewell said, rather grumpily though, 
' Never mind my bill ; but don't call me up at six o'clock in the 
morning again, without knowing a little more about people.' And I 
never afore knew Dr. Dosewell go without his bill being paid. He 
said it was a trick o' the other Doctor to spite him." 

"What other Doctor?" 

" Oh, a very good gentleman, who got out with Mr. Digby when 
he was taken ill, and stayed till the next morning ; and our Doctor 
says his name is Morgan, and he lives in — Lunnon, and is a homy — 
something." 

" Homicide," suggested Leonard, ignorantly. 

" Ah — homicide ; something like that, only a deal longer and worse. 
But he left some of the tiniest little balls you ever see, sir, to give 
the child ; but, bless you, they did her no good — how should they ?" 

"Tiny balls, oh — homceopathist-T understand. And the Doctor 
was kind to her; perhaps lie may help her. Have you written to 
him?" 

" But we don't know his address, and Lunnon is a vast place, sir." 

" I am going to London, and will find it out." 

" Ah, sir, you seem very kind ; and sin' she must go to Lunnon 
(for what can we do with her here ? — she's too genteel for service), I 
wish she was going with you." 

""VVithme!" said Leonard, startled — "with me! Well, whynot?" 

" I am sure she comes of good blood, sir. You would have known 
her father was quite the gentleman, only to see him die, sir. He 
went off so kind and civil like, as if he was ashamed to give so much 
trouble — quite a gentleman, if ever there was one. And so are you, 
sir, I'm sure," said the landlady, curtseying ; " I know what gentle- 
folk be. I've been a housekeeper in the first of families in this very 
shire, sir, though I can't say I've served in Lunnon; and so, as 
gentlefolks know each other, I've no doubt you could find out her 
relations. Dear — dear! Coming, coming !" 

Here there were loud cries for the hostess, and she hurried away. 
The farmers and drovers were beginning to depart and their bills 
were to be made out and paid. Leonard saw his hostess no more 
that night. The last hip— hip— hurrah, was heard; some toast, 
perhaps to the health of the county members ;— and the chamber 
of woe, beside Leonard's, rattled with the shout. By-and-by, silence 
gradually succeeded the various dissonant sounds below. The carts 
and gigs rolled away : the clatter of hoofs on the road ceased : there 
was then a dumb dull sound as of locking-up, and low humming 
voices below, and footsteps mounting the stairs to bed, witli now and 
then a drunken hiccup or maudlin laugh, as some conquered votary 
of Bacchus was fairly carried up to his domicile. 

All. then, at last was silent, just as the clock from the church 
-sounded the stroke of eleven. 

Leonard, meanwhile, had been looking over his MSS. There was 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LUTE. 2S7 

first a project for an improvement on the steam-engine, — a project 
that had iong lain in his mind, begun with the first knowledge of 
mechanics that he had gleaned from his purchases of the Tinker. He 
put that aside now — it required too great an effort of the reasoning 
faculty to re-examine. 

He glanced less hastily over a collection of essays on various sub- 
jects — some that he thought indifferent, some that he thought good, 
He then lingered over a collection of verses, written in his best hand, 
with loving care — verses first inspired by his perusal of Nora's 
melancholy memorials. These verses were as a diary of his heart 
and his fancy — those deep unwitnessed struggles which the boyhood 
of all more thoughtful natures has passed in its bright yet murky 
storm of the cloud and the lightning-flash, — though but few boys 
pause to record the crisis from which slowly emerges Man. And 
these first desultory grapplings with the fugitive airy images that flit 
through the dim chambers of the brain, had become with each effort 
more sustained and vigorous, till the phantoms were spelled, the 
flying ones arrested, the Immaterial seized, and clothed with Form. 
Gazing on his last effort, Leonard felt that there, at length, spoke 
forth the Poet. It was a work which, though as yet but half com- 
pleted, came from a strong hand; not that shadow trembling on 
unsteady waters, which is but the pale reflex and imitation of some 
bright mind, sphered out of reach and afar, but an original substance 
— a life — a thing of the Creative Faculty, — breathing back already the 
breath it had received. This work had paused during Leonard's 
residence with Mr. Avenel, or bad only now and then, in stealth, and 
at night, received a rare touch. Now, as with a fresh eye, he re- 
perused it, and with that strange, innocent admiration, not of self — • 
for a man's work is not, alas ! himself, — it is the beautified and ideal- 
ised essence (extracted, he knows not how, from his own human ele- 
ments of clay), admiration known but to poets — their purest delight, 
often their sole reward. And then, with a warmer and more earthly 
beat of his full heart, he rushed in fancy to the Great City, where all 
rivers of Fame meet, but not to be merged and lost, — sallying forth 
again, individualised and separate, to flow through that one vast 
Thought of God which we call The World. 

He put up his papers, and opened his window, as was his ordinary 
tustom, before he retired to rest — for he had many odd habits ; and 
ae loved to look out into the night when he prayed. His soul seemed 
to escape from the body, — to mount on the air, — to gain more rapid 
access to the far Throne in the Infinite, — when his breath went forth 
among the winds, and his eyes rested fixed on the stars of heaven. 

So the boy prayed silently ; and after his prayer, he was about, lin- 
geringly, to close the lattice, when he heard distinctly sobs close at 
hand. He paused, and held his breath ; then looked gently out : the 
casement next his own was also open. Some one was also at watch by 
that casement — perhaps also praying. He listened yet more intently, 
and caught, soft and low, the words, "Father, — father, — do you heaf 
cae now ? " 



258 KY NO\EL- OB, 



CHATTER VI. 

Leonajid opened his door, and stole towards that of the room 
adjoining ; for his first natural impulse had been to enter and console 
I Jut when his touch was on the handle, he drew back. Child though 
t lie mourner was, her sorrows were rendered yet more sacred from 
intrusion by her sex. Something, he knew not what, in his young 
ignorance, withheld him from the threshold. To have crossed it then 
would have seemed to him profanation ; so he returned, and for hours 
yet he occasionally heard the sobs, till they died away, and childhood 
wept itself to sleep. 

But the next morning, when he heard his neighbour astir, he 
knocked gently at her door ; there was no answer. He entered softly, 
and saw her seated very listlessly in the centre of the room— as if it 
had no familiar nook or corner, as the rooms of home have, — her hands 
drooping on her lap, and her eyes gazing desolately on the floor. 
Then lie approached and spoke to her. 

Helen was very subdued, and very silent. Her tears seemed dried 
up ; and it was long before she gave sign or token that she heeded 
him. At length, however, lie gradually succeeded in rousing her 
interest ; and the first symptom of his success was in the quiver of 
her lip, and the overflow of ner downcast eyes. 

By little and little he wormed himself into her confidence ; and she 
told him, in broken whispers, her simple story. But, what moved 
him the most was, that, beyond her sense of loneliness, she did not 
seem to feel her own unprotected state. She mourned the object she 
had nursed, and heeded, and cherished ; for she had been rather the 
protectress than the protected to the helpless dead. He could not 
gain from her any more satisfactory information than the landlady 
nad already imparted, as to her friends and prospects • but she per- 
mitted him passively to look among the effects her father had left- 
save only that, if his hand touched something that seemed to her 
associations especially holy, she waved him back, or drew it quickly 
away. There were many bills receipted in the name of Captain 
Digby— old yellow faded music-scores for the flute,— extracts of Parts 
from Prompt Books,— gay parts of lively comedies, in which heroes 
have so noble a contempt for money — fit heroes for a Sheridan and a 
Farquhar : close by these were several pawnbroker's tickets ; and, 
not arrayed smoothly, but crumpled up, as if with an indignant, ner- 
vous clutch of the helpless hands, some two or three letters.' He 
asked Helen's permission to glance at these, for they might afford a 
clue to friends. Helen gave the permission by a silent bend of the 
head. The letters, however, were but short and freezing answers 
from what appeared to be distant connections, or former friends, or 
persons to whom the deceased had applied for some situation. Thev 
were all very disheartening in their tone. Leonard next endeavoured 
to refresh Helen's memory as to the name of the nobleman which 
had been last on her father's lips: but there he failed wholly. For 



VAKiKi'KS IX ENGLISH LI!':.. ii^J 

it may oe remembered that Lord ©'Estrange, when he pressed !ii;s 
.oan on Mr. Digby, and subsequently told that gentleman 10 address 
to him at Mr. Egcrton's, had, from a natural delicacy, sent the child on, 
that she might not witness the charity bestowed on the father ; and 
Helen said truly, that Mr. Digby had sunk latterly into an habituai 
silence on all his affairs. She might have heard her father mention tin; 
name, but she had not treasured it up- all she could say was, that 
she should know the stranger again if she met him, and his dog too . 
Seeing that the child had grown calm, Leonard was then going tit 
leave the room, in order to confer with the hostess; when she roso 
suddenly, though noiselessly, and put her little hand in his, as if to 
detain him. She did not say a word — the action said all— said, " Do- 
not desert me." And Leonard's heart rushed to his lips, and he 
answered to the action, as he bent down and kissed her cheek, 
" Orphan, will you go with me ? "We have one father yet to both of 
us, and He will guide us on earth. I am fatherless, like you." She 
raised her eyes to his — looked at him long — and then leant her head 
confidingly on his strong young shoulder. 



CHAPTER VII. 

At noon that same day, the young man and the child were on their 
road to London. The host had at first a little demurred at trusting 
Helen to so young a companion ; but Leonard, in his happy igno- 
rance, had talked so sanguinely of finding out this lord, or some 
adequate protectors for the child ; and in so grand a strain, thougrt 
with all sincerity — had spoken of his own great prospects in the 
metropolis (he did not say what they were !) — that liad he been the 
craftiest impostor he could not more have taken in the rustic host. 
And while the landlady still cherished the illusive fancy, that all 
gentlefolks must know each other in London, as they did hi a county, 
the landlord believed, at least, that a young man so respectably 
dressed, although but a foot-traveller — who talked in so confident a 
tone, and who was so willing to undertake what_ might be rather a 
burthensome charge, unless he saw how to rid himself of it — would 
be sure to have friends, older and wiser than himself, who wouiii 
judge what couid best be done for the orphan. 

And what was the host to do with her ? Better this volunteered 
escort, at least, than vaguely passing her on from parish to parish, 
and leaving her friendless at last in the streets of London. Helen, 
too, smiled for the first time on being asked her wishes, and again 
put her hand in Leonard's. In short, so it was settled. 

The little girl made up a bundle of the things she most prized or 
needed. Leonard did not feel the additional load, as he slung it to 
his knapsack : the rest of the luggage was to be sent to London as 
soon as Leonard wrote (which he promised to do soon), and gave an 
••iddress. 

Helen paid her last visit to the churcnyard ; and she ioinei set 



300 MY novel; OB, 

compa'.ion as Tie stood on the road, without the solemn precincts. 
Ana now they had gone on some hours -and when he asked if she 
were tired, she still answered " No." But Leonard was merciful, 
and made their day's journey short ; and it took them some days to 
reach London. By the long lonely way they grew so intimate, at the 
end of the second day, they called each other brother and sister ; and 
Leonard, to his delight, found that as her grief, with the bodily 
movement and the change of scene, subsided from its first intenseness 
and its insensibility to other impressions, she developed a quickness 
of comprehension far beyond her years. Poor child ! that had been 
forced upon her by Necessity. And she understood him in Ids 
spiritual consolations — half poetical, half religious ; and she listened 
to his own tale, and the story of his self-education and solitary 
struggles — those, too, she understood. But when he burst out with 
his enthusiasm, his glorious hopes, his confidence in the fate before 
them, then she would shake her head very quietly and very sadly. 
Did she comprehend them ? Alas ! perhaps too well. She knew 
more as to real life than he did. Leonard was at first their joint 
treasurer ; but before the second day was over, Helen seemed to dis- 
cover that he was too lavish ; and she told him so, with a prudent 
grave look, putting her hand on his arm as he was about to enter an 
inn to dine; and the gravity would have been comic, but that the 
eyes through their moisture were so meek and grateful. She felt he 
was about to incur that ruinous extravagance cr her account. Some- 
how or other, the purse found its way into her seeping, and then she 
looked proud and m her natural element. 

All ! what happy meals under her care were provided ; so much 
more enjoyable than in dull, sanded inn parlours, swarming with flies, 
and reeking with stale tobacco. She would leave him at the entrance 
of a village, bound forward, and eater, and return with a little basket 
and a pretty blue jug — wliich she had bought on the road — the last 
filled with new milk; the first with new bread, and some special 
dainty in radishes or water-cresses. And she had such a talent for 
finding out the prettiest spot whereon to halt and dine : sometimes 
in the heart of a wood— so still, it was like a forest in fairy tales, the 
hare stealing through the alleys, or the squirrel peeping at them from 
the boughs ; sometimes by a little brawling stream, with the fishes 
seen under the clear wave, and shooting round the crumbs thrown to 
them. They made an Arcadia of the dull road up to their dread 
Thermopylae— the war against the million that waited them on the 
other side of their pass through Tcmpe. 

" Shall we be as happy when we are great ?" said Leonard, in his 
grand simplicity. 

Helen sighed, and the wise little head was shaken. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 291 



CHAPTER Yin. 

At last they came •within easy reach of London ; but Leonard had 
resolved not to enter the metropolis fatigued and exhausted as a 
wanderer needing refuge, but fresh and elate, as a conqueror coming 
in triumph to take possession of the capital. Therefore they baited 
early in the evening of the day preceding this imperial entry, about 
six miles from the metropolis, in the neighbourhood of Ealing (for by 
that route lay their way). They were not tired on arriving at (heir 
inn. The weather was singularly lovely, with that combination of 
softness and brilliancy which is only known to the rare true summer 
days of England ; all below so green, above so blue — days of which 
we have about six in the year, and recall vaguely when we read of Robin 
Hood and Maid Marian, of damsel and knight in Spenser's golden 
Summer Song — or of Jacques, dropped under the oak-tree, watching t he 
deer amidst the dells of Ardennes. So, after a Httle pause at their 
inn, they strolled forth, not for travel but pleasure, towards the cool of 
sunset, passing by the grounds that once belonged to the Duke of 
Kent, and catching a glimpse >,1 the ~iu-ubs and lawns of that beauti- 
ful domain through the lodge gate-- ; then they crossed into some 
fields, and came to a httle rivulet culled the Brent. Helen had been 
more sad that dav than on any during their journey. Perhaps be- 
cause, on approaching London, the memory of her father became 
more vivid ; perhaps from her precocious knowledge of life, and her 
foreboding of what was to befall them, children that they both were. 
But Leonard was selfish that day; he could not be influenced by his 
companion's sorrow ; he was so full of his own sense of being, and he 
had already caught from the atmosphere the fever that belongs to 
anxious capitals. 

" Sit here, sister," said he imperiously, throwing himself under the 
shade of a pollard tree that overhung the winding brook, " sit here 
and talk." 

He flung off his hat, tossed back his rich curls, and sprinkled his 
brow from the stream that eddied round the roots of the tree that 
bulged out, bald and gnarled, from the bank, and delved into the 
waves below. Helen quietly obeyed him, and nestled close to his 
side. 

" And so this London is really very vast ? — veby ?" he repeated 
inquisitively. 

" Very," answered Helen, as, abstractedly, she plucked the cow- 
slips near her, and let them fall into the running waters. " See how 
the flowers are carried down the stream ! They are lost now. Lon ■ 
aon is to us what the river is to the flowers — very vast — very strong ; '' 
and she added, after a pause — " very cruel ! " 

" Cruel ! Ah, it has been so to you ; but now ! — now I will take 
care of you ! " He smiled triumphantly ; and his smile was beautiful 
both in its pride and its kindness. It is astonishing how Leonard had 
altered since he had left his uncle's : he w.»s both younger and oiaer • 

; 9 



292 MX NOVEL; or, 

for the sense of genius, when it snaps its shackles, makes us both older 
and wiser as to the world it soars to — younger and blinder as to the 
world it springs from. 

" And it is not a very handsome city either, you say?" 

" "Very ugly, indeed," said Helen, with some fervour; " at least all 
I have seen of it." 

" But there must be parts that are prettier than others ? You say 
there are parks : why should not we lodge near them, and look upon 
the green trees?" 

" That would be nice," said Helen, almost joyously : " but — " and 
here the head was shaken — " there are no lodgings for us except in 
courts and alleys." 

"Why?" 

" "Why ?" echoed Helen, with a smile, and she held up the purse. 

" Pooh ! always that horrid purse ; as if, too, we were not going to 
fill it. Did not I tell you the story of Fortunio ? W r ell, at all events, 
we will go first to the neighbourhood where you last lived, and learn 
there all we can ; and then the day after to-morrow, I will see this 
Dr. Morgan, and find out the Lord." 

The tears started to Helen's soft eyes : " You want to get rid of 
me soon, brother." 

" I ! Ah, I feel so happy to have yor with me, it seems to me as if 
I had pined for you all my life, and you had come at last ; for I never 
had brother, nor sister, nor any one to love, that was not older than 
myself, except " 

" Except the young lady you told me of," said Helen, turning away 
her lace ; for children are very jealous. 

" Yes, I loved her, love her still. But that was different," saia 
Leonard. " I could never have talked to her as to you : to you I 
open my whole heart ; you are my little Muse, Helen : I confess to 
you my wild whims and fancies as frankly as if I were writing poetry." 
As he said this, a step was heard, and a shadow fell over the stream. 
A belated angler appeared on the margin, drawing his line impatiently 
across the water, as if to worry some dozing fish into a bite before it 
iinally set tied itself for the night. Absorbed in his occupation, the 
angler did not observe the young persons on the sward under the tree, 
and he halted there, close upon them. 

" Curse that perch ! " said he aloud. 

" Take care, sir ! " cried Leonard ; for theman, in stepping back, 
nearly trod upon Helen. 

The angler turned. "What's the matter? Hist! you have 
frightened my perch. Keep still, can't you ? " 

Helen drew herself out of the way, and Leonard remained motion- 
less : he remembered Jackeyino, and felt a sympathy for the angler. 

" It is the most extraordinary perch, that ! " muttered the stranger, 
soliloquising. " It has the devil's own luck. It must have been bora 
with a silver spoon in its mouth, that damned perch ! I shall never 
catch it— never ! Ha !— no— only a weed. I give it up." With this, 
he indignantly jerked his rod from the water and began to disjoint it. 
While leisurely engaged in this occupation, he turned to Leonard. 

" Humph ! are you intimately acctuainted with this stream sir '■ " 



\AUir,TI£S IN ENGLISH LIFE. 293 

" No," answered Leonard; " I never saw it before." 

Angler (solemnly). — Then young man, take my advice, aid do 
not give way to its fascinations. Sir, I am a martyr to tlus stream ; 
it has been the Delilah of my existence. 

Leonard (interested : the last sentence seemed to him poetical). — 
The Delilah, sir ! the Delilah ! 

Axuler. — The Delilah. Young man, listen, and be warned by 
example. When I was about your age, I first came to this stream 
to fish. _ Sir, on that fatal day, about 3 p.m., I hooked up a fish — 
such a big one, it must have weighed a pound and a half. Sir, it was 
that length [and the angler put finger to wrist]. And just when 
I had got it nearly ashore by the very place where you are sitting, on 
that shelving bank, young man, the line broke, and the perch twisted 
himself among those roots aud — cacodsemon that he was — ran off, 
hook and all. Well, that fish haunted me ; never before had 1 seen 
such a fish. Minnows I had caught in the Thames and elsewhere, 
also gudgeons, and occasionally a dace. But a fish like that — a 
PERCH — all Lis fins up, like the sails of a man-of-war — a monster 
perch — a whale of a perch ! — No, never till then had I known what 
leviathans lie hid within the deeps. I could not sleep till I hac 
returned ; and again, sir, — I caught that perch. And this time I 
pulled him fairly out of the water. He escaped ; and how did he 
escape ? Sir, he left his eye behind liim on the hook. Years, long 
years, have passed since then ; but never shall I forget the agony of 
that moment. 

Leonard. — To the perch, sir ? 

Angler. — Perch ! agony to him ! He enjoyed it : — agony to me. 
I gazed on that eye, and the eye looked as slv and as wicked as if it 
was laughing in my face. Well, sir, I had "heard that there is no 
better bait for a perch than a perch's eye. I adjusted that eye on the 
hook, and dropped in the line gently. The water was unusually clear ; 
in two minutes I saw that perch return. He approached the hook ; 
he recognised his eye — frisked his tail— made a plunge — and, as I 
live, carried off the eye, safe and sound ; and I saw him digesting it 
by the side of that water-lily. The mocking-fiend ! Seven times 
since that day. in the course of a varied and eventful life, have I 
caught that perch, and seven times has that perch escaped. 

Leonard (astonished). — It can't be the same perch: perches are 
very tender fish — a hook inside of it, and an eye hooked out of it — no 
perch could withstand such havoc in its constitution. 

Angler (with an appearance of awe). — It does seem supernatural. 
But it is that perch ; for, harkye, sir, there is only one perch in the 
whole brook ! All the years I have fished here, I have never caught 
another perch ; and this solitary inmate of the watery element I know 
by sight better than I knew my own lost father. Por each time that 
I have raised it out of the water, its profile has been turned to me, 
and I have seen, with a shudder, that it has had only— One Eye ! It 
is a most mysterious and a most diabolical phenomenon, that perch! 
It has been the ruin of my prospects in life. I was offered a situ- 
ation in Jamaica : I could not go with that perch left here in triumph, 
1 might afterwards have had an appointment in India, but I could not 



2Si MT XOVEl, ; Oil, 

put the ocean between myself and that perch : thus litre I frittered 
away my existence in the fatal metropolis of my native land. And 
once a week from February to December, I come hither. — Good 
Heavens ! if I should catch the perch at last, the occupation of my 
existence will be gone. 

Leonard gazed curiously at the angler, as the last thus mourn- 
fully concluded. The ornate turn of his periods did not suit with his 
costume : he looked woefully threadbare and shabby — a genteel sort 
of shabbiness too — shabbiness in black. There was humour in the 
corners of his lip ; and his hands, though they did not seem very 
clean — indeed his occupation was not friendly to such niceties — were 
those of a man who had not known manual labour. His face was 
pale and pulled, but the tip of the nose was red : he did not seem as 
if the watery element w as as familiar to himself as to his Delilah— 
the perch. 

" Such is Life ! " recommenced the angler, in a moralising tone, as 
he slid his rod into its canvas case. " If a man knew what it was to 
fish all one's life in a stream that has only one perch :— to catch that 
one perch nine times in all, and nine times to see it fall back into the 
water, plump ; — if a man knew what it was — why, then" — Here the 
angler looked over his shoulder full at Leonard — " why then, young 
sir, he would know what human life is to vain ambition. Good 
evening." 

Away he went, treading over the daisies and king-cups. Helen's 
eyes followed him wistfully. 

"What a strange person!" said Leonard, laughing. 

" 1 think he is a very wise one/' murmured Helen ; and she came 
close up to Leonard, and took his hand in both hers, as if she felt 
already that he was in need of the Comforter — the line broken, and 
perch lost ! 



CHAPTER IX 

At noon the next day, London stole upon them through a gloomy, 
/hick, oppressive at]no^phcre ; for where is it that we can say London 
bursts on the sight ? It stole on them through one of its fairest and 
most gracious avenues of approach — by the stately gardens of Ken- 
sington — along the side of Hyde Park, and so on towards Cumber- 
land Gate. 

Leonard was not the least struck. And yet with a very little 
money, and a very little taste, it would be easy to render this entrance 
to London as grand and as imposing as that to Paris from the Champs 
Elysees. As they came near the Edgeware Road, Helen took her new, 
brother by the hand and guided liim ; for she knew all that neigh- 
bourhood, and she was acquainted with a lodging near that occupied 
by her father (to that lodging itself she could not have gone for the 
world), where they might be housed cheaply. 

But just then the sky, so dull and overcast since morning, seemed 
one mass of black cloud. There suddenly came on a violent storm of 



^L7SH LIFE. 295 

rain. The boy and girl took refuge in a covered mews, in a sirect 
running out of the Edgeware Road. This shelter soon became 
crowded ; the two young pilgrims crept close to the wall, apart 
from the rest — Leonard's arm round Helen's waist, sheltering her 
from the rain that the strong wind contending with it beat in through 
the passage. Presently a young^ gentleman, of better mien and dress 
than the other refugees, entered, not hastily, but rather with a slow 
and proud step, as if, though he deigned to take shelter, he scorned 
to run to it. He glanced somewhat haughtily at the assembled 
group — passed on through the midst of it — came near Leonard- 
took off nis hat, and shook the rain from its brim. His head thus 
uncovered, left all his features exposed; and the village youth 
recognised, at the first glance, his old victorious assailant on the 
green at Hazeldean. 

Yet Randal Leslie was altered. His dark cheek was as thin as in 
boyhood, and even yet more wasted by intense study and night vigils ; 
but the expression of his face was at once more refined and manly, 
and there was a steady concentrated light in his eye, like that of one 
who has been in the habit of bringing all his thoughts to one point. 
He looked older than he was. He was dressed simply in black, 
a colour which became him ; and altogether his aspect and figure were 
not showy indeed, but distinguished. He looked to the common eye 
a gentleman ; and to the more observant, a scholar. 

Helter-skelter ! — pell-mell ! the group in the passage — now pressed 
each on each — now scattered on all sides — making way — rushing 
down the mews — against the walls, as a fiery horse darted under 
shelter. The rider, a young man, with a very handsome face, and 
dressed with that peculiar care which we commonly call dandyism, 
cried out, good-humouredly, "Don't be afraid; the horse shan't 
hurt any of you — a thousand pardons — so ho ! so ho ! " He 
patted the horse, and it stood as still as a statue fill in g up the 
centre of the passage. The groups resettled— Randal approached 
the rider. 

"Frank Hazeldean!" 

"Ah — is it indeed Randal Leslie ! " 

Frank was off his horse in a moment, and the bridle was consigned 
to the care of a slim 'prentice-boy holding a bundle. 

" My dear fellow, how glad I am to see you. How lucky it was 
that I should turn in here. Not like me either, for I don't much care 
for a ducking. Staying in town, Randal ? " 

" Yes ; at your uncle's, Mr. Egerton. I have left Oxford. 

"For good?" 

"For good." 

" But you have not taken your degree, I think ? We Etonians all 
considered you booked for a double-first. Oh ! we have been so proud 
of your fame — you carried off all the prizes." 

" Not all ; but some, certainly. Mr. Egerton offered me my choice 
— to stay for my degree, or to erter at once into the Foreign Office. 
I preferred the end to the means : ior, after all, what good are acade- 
mical honours but as the entrance to life ? To enter now, is to save a 
step in a long way, Frank." 



itro 11 y xovel; or, 

" All ! you were aiways ambitious, and you will make a gieat figure., 
.! am sure." 

" Perhaps so — if I woik for it. Knowledge is power !" 

Leonard started. 

" And you ! " resumed Randal, looking with some curious attention 
at. his old school-fellow — " You never came to Oxford. I did hear 
vou were going in the army." 

" I am in the Guards," said Frank, trying hard not to look too 
conceited as he made that acknowledgment. " The Governor pished a 
little, and would rather I had come 10 live with him in the old Hall, 
and take to farming. Time enough for that — eh ? By Jove, Randal, 
how pleasant a thing is life in London ! Do vou go to Almack's to- 
aight?" 

" No ; "Wednesday is a holiday in the House ! There is a great 
Parliamentary dinner at Mr. Egerton's. He is in the cabinet now, 
you know ; but you don't see much of your uncle, 1 think." 

"Our sets are differeni," said the young gentleman, in a tone of 
voice worthy of Brummell. "All those Parliamentary fellows are 
devilish dull. The rain's over. I don't know whether the Governor 
would like me to call at Grosvenor Square ; but pray come and see me. 
Here's my card to remind you ; you must dine at our mess. Sucu 
capital fellows ! "What day will you fix ?" 

" 1 will call and let you know. Don't you find it rather expensive 
in the Guards ? I remember that you thought the Governor, as you 
call him, used to chafe a little when you wrote for more pocket- 
money ; and the only time I ever saw you with tears in your eyes, 
was when Mr. Hazcldean, in sending you five pounds, reminded you 
that his estates were not entailed — were at his own disposal, and they 
should never go to an extravagant spendthrift. It was not a pleasant 
threat that, Frank." 

"Oh!" cried the young man, colouring deeply ; "It was not the 
threat that pained me ; it was that my father could think so meanly 
of me as to fancy that — Well — well, but those were schoolboy days : 
and my father was always more generous than I deserved. We must 
see a great deal of each other, Randal. How good-natured you were at 
Eton, making my longs and shorts for me ; I shall never forget it. 
Do call soon." 

Frank swung himself into his saddle, and rewarded the sum youth 
with half a crown— a largess four times more ample than his father 
would have deemed sufficient. A jerk of the reins and a touch of the 
heel — off bounded the fiery horse and the gay young rider. Randal 
muEed ; and as the rain had now ceased, the pas'sengers under shelter 
"dispersed and went their way. Only Randal, Leonard, and Helen, 
remained behind. Then, as Randal, still musing, lifted his eyes, they 
fell upon Leonard's face. He started, passed his hand quickly over 
Ms brow— looked again, hard and piercingly ; and the change in his 
pale cheek to a shade still paler — a quick compression and nervous 
gnawing of his lip— showed that he too recognised an old foe. Then 
his glance ran over Leonard's dress, which was somewha dust-stained, 
but far above the class amongst which the peasant was born. Randal 
raised his brows in surprise, and with a smile slightly supercilious — 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIFE. 2'J; 

the smile stung Leonard ; and with a slow step llandal left thf 
passage, and took his way towards Grosveuor Square. The Entrance of 
Ambition was clear to him. 

Then the little girl once more took Leonard by the hand, and led 
him through rows of humble, obscure, dreary streets. It seemed 
almost like an allegory personified, as the sad, silent child led on the 
penniless and jovv-born adventurer of genius by the squalid shops, and 
through the winding lanes, which grew meaner and meaner till both 
their forms vanished from view. 



CHAPTER X. 

" But do come ; change your dress, return and dine with me ; you 
will have just time, Haiiey. You will meet the most eminent men of 
our party ;. surely they are worth j r our study, philosopher that you 
affect to be." 

Thus said Audley Egerton to Lord L'Est range, with whom he had 
been riding (after the toils of his office). The two gentlemen were in 
Audley's library. Mr. Egerton, as usual, buttoned up, seated in his 
chair, in the erect posture of a man who scorns "inglorious ease." 
Harley, as usual, thrown at length on the sofa, his long hair in 
careless curls, Ids neckcloth loose, his habiliments flowing — sim- 
plex munditiis, indeed — his grace all his own; seemingly negligent, 
never slovenly ; at ease everywhere and with every one, even witn 
Mr. Audley Egerton, who chilled or awed the ease out of most 
people. 

" Nay, my dear Audley, forgive me. But your eminent men are 
all men of one idea, and that not a diverting one — politics ! politics ! 
politics ! The storm in the saucer." 

" But what is your life, Harley ? — the saucer without the storm ? " 

" Do you know, that's very well said, Audley ': I did not think 
you had so much liveliness of repartee. Life— life ! it is insipid, it 
is shallow. No lannching Argosies in the saucer. Audley, I have 
the oddest fancy " 

" That of course," said Audley, drily ; " yon never have any other. 
"What is the new one ? " 

Hakley (with great gravity).— Do you believe in Mesmerism? 

Audley. — Certainly not. 

Harley. — If it were in the power of an animal magnetiser to get 
me out of my own skin into somebody else's ! That's my fancy ! I 
am so tired of myself — so tired ! I have run through all my ideas — 
know every one of them by heart. When some pretentious impostor 
of an idea perks itself up and says, Look at me— I'm a new ac- 
quaintance, I just give it a nod, and say, Not at all — you have only 
got a new coat on; you are the same old wretch that has bored me 
these last twenty years ; get away. But if one could be in a new- 
skin ! if I could be for half an hour your tall porter, or one of your 
eminent matter-of-fact men, I should then really travel into a. new 



20S MY VOVEL; OB, 

* 

world* Everyman's brain must be a world in hself, eh ? If I could 
but make a parochial settlement even in yours, Audley — run over all 
your thoughts and sensations. Upon my life, I'll go and talk to that 
French mesmeriser about it. 

Audley (who does not seem to like the notion of having hia 
thoughts and sensations rummaged, even by his friend, and even hi 
fancy). — Pooh, pooh, pooh ! Do talk: like a man of sense. 

Hakley.— Man of sense ! Where shall I find a model ? I don't 
know a man of sense ! — never met such a creature. Don't believe it 
ever existed. At one time I thought Socrates must have been a man 
of sense ; — a delusion ; he would stand gazing into the ah-, and talk- 
ing to his Genius from sunrise to sunset. Is that like a man of sense ? 
Poor Audley ; how puzzled he looks ! Well, I'll trv and talk sense 
to oblige you. And first [here Harley raised himself on his elbow] — 
first, is it true, as I have heard vaguely, that you are paying court to 
the sister of that infamous Italian traitor ? 

"Madame di Negra? No: I am not paying court to her," an- 
swered Audley, with a cold smile. " But she is very handsome ; she 
is very clever ; she is useful to me — I need not say how or why ; that 
belongs to my mttier as a politician. But I think, if you will take 
my advice, or get your friend to take, it, I could obtain from her 
brother, through my influence with her, some liberal concessions to 
your exile. She is verv anxious to know where he is." 

" You have not told her." 

" No ; I promised you I would keep that secret." 

" Be sure you do : it is only for some mischief, some snare, that 
she could desire such information. Concessions! pooh! This is nc 
quest ion of concessions, but of rights." 

" I think you should leave your friend to judge of that." _ 

" Well, I will write to him. Meanwhile, beware of this woman. 
I have heard much of her abroad, and she has the character of her 
brother for duplicity and " 

"Beauty," interrupted Audley, turning the conversation with 
practised adroitness. " I am told that the Count is one of the hand- 
somest men in Europe, much handsomer than his sister, still, though 
nearly twice her age. Tut — tut — Harley; fear not for me. I am 
proof against all feminine attractions. This heart is dead." 

" Nay, nay ; it is not for you to speak thus — leave that to me. But 
even 1 will not say it. The heart never dies. And you ; what have 
you lost ? — a wife ; true : an excellent noble-hearted woman. But 
was it love that you felt for her? Enviable man, have you ever 
loved?" 

" Perhaps not, Harley," said Audley, with a sombre aspect, and in 
dejected accents; "very few men ever have loved, — at least as you 
mean by the word. But there are other passions than love that "kill 
the heart, and reduce us to mechanism," 

* If, at the date in which Lord L'Estrang-e held this conversation with Mr. Eget- 
ton, Alfred de Musset had written his comedies, we should suspect that his lordship 
had plagiarised from one of them the whimsical idea that he here vents upon 
Audley. In repeating- it, the auc:ior at least cannot escape from the charge of 
ebligation to a writer whose humour is sufficiently opulent to justify the loan. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 299 

While Egerton spoke, Harley turned aside, and his breast heaved. 
There was a short silence ; Audley was the first to break it. 

" Speaking of my lost wife, I am sorry that you do not approve of 
what I have done for her young kinsman, Randal Leslie." 

Harley (recovering himself with an effort). — Is it true kindness 
to bid him exchange manly independence for the protection of an 
official patron ? 

Audley. — I did not bid him. I gave him his choice. At his age, 
I should have chosen as he has done. 

Harley. — I trust not ; I think better of you. But answer me 
one question frankly, and then I will ask another. Do you mean to 
make this young man your heir ? 

Audley (with a slight embarrassment). — Heir, pooh! I am 
young still. I may live as long as he— time enough to think of 
that. 

Habxey. — Then now to my second question. Have you told this 
youth plainly that he may look to you for influence, but not for 
wealth ? 

Audley (firmly). — I think I have; but I shall repeat it more 
emphatically. 

Harley. — Then I am satisfied as to your conduct, but not as to 
his. Eor he has too acute an intellect not to know what it is to 
forfeit independence; and, depend on it, he has made his calcula- 
tions, and would throw you into the bargain in any_ balance thathe 
could strike in his favour. You go by your experience hi judging 
men; I by my instincts. Nature warns us as it does the inferior 
animals — only we are too conceited, we bipeds, to heed her. My 
instincts of soldier and gentleman recoil from that old young man. 
He has the soul of the Jesuit. I see it in his eye — I hear it in the 
tread of his foot ; volto sciolto he has not ; i pensieri stretti he has. 
Hist ! I hear now his step in the hall. I should know it from a 
thousand. That's his very touch on the handle of the door. 

Randal Leslie entered. Harley — who, despite his disregard for 
forms, and his dislike to Randal, was too high-bred not to be polite 
to his j unior in age or inferior in rank — rose and bowed. But his 
bright piercing eyes did not soften as they caught and bore down the 
deeper and more latent fire in Randal's. Harley did not resume his 
seat, but moved to the matelpiece, and leant against it. 

Randal. — I have fulfilled your commissions, Mr. Egerton. I went 
first to Maida Hill, and saw Mr. Burley. I gave him the cheque, but 
he said " it was too much, and he should return half to the banker;" 
he will write the article as you suggested. I then 

Audley. — Enough, Randal ! we will not fatigue Lord L'Estrange 
vrith these little details of a life that displeases him — the life political. 

Harley. — But these details do not displease me ; they reconcile 
me to my own life. Go on, pray, Mr. Leslie. 

Randal had too much tact to need the cautioning glance of 
Mr. Egerton. He did not continue, but said, with a soft voice, "Do 
you think, Lord L'Estrange, that the contemplation of the mode of 
life pursued by others can reconcile a man to his own, if he had before 
thought it needed a reconciler?" Harley looked pleased, for the 



SOO MY NOVEL: OR. 

question was ironical; and if there was a tiling m the world he 
aohorred, it was flattery. 

" Recollect your Lucretius, Mr. Leslie, the Suace mare, &c, "plea- 
sant from the cliff to see the mariners tossed on the ocean.' Earth, f. 
think that sight reconciles oue to the cliff— though, before, one migiit 
have been teased by the splash from the spray, and deafened by the 
scream of the sea-gulls. But I leave you, Audley. Strange that I 
have heard no more of my soldier. Remember I have your promise 
when I come to claim it. Good bye, Mr. Leslie, I hope that Burley's 
article will be worth the — cheque." 

Lord L'Estrange mounted his horse, which was still at the door, 
and rode through the Park. But he was no longer now unknown by 
bight ; bows and nods saluted him on every side. 

"Alas, I am found out, then," said he to himself. " That terrible 
Duchess of Knaresborough, too — I must fly my country." He pushed 
his horse into a canter, and was soon out of the Park. As lie dis- 
mounted at his father's sequestered house, you would have hardly 
supposed him the same wliimsical, fantastic, but deep and subtle 
humourist that delighted in perplexing the material Audley — for his 
expressive face was unutterably serious ; but the moment he came 
into the presence of his parents, the countenance was again lighted 
and cheerful— it brightened the whole room like sunshiue. 



CHAPTER XI. 

" Mk. Leslie," said Egerton, when Harley had left the library, 
" you did not act with your usual discretion in touching upon matters 
connected with pobtics in the presence of a third party." 

" 1 feel that already, sir ; my excuse is, that 1 held Lord L'Estrange 
to be your most intimate friend." 

" A public man, Mr. Leslie, would ill serve his country if he were 
not especially reserved towards his private friends — when they do not 
belong to his party." 

" But, pardon me my ignorance, Lord Lansmere is so well known 
to be one of your supporters, that I fancied his son must share his 
sentiments, and be in your confidence." 

Egerton's brows slightly contracted, and gave a stem expression 
to a countenance always firm and decided. He however answered in 
a mild tone : 

" At the entrance into political life, Mr. Leslie, there is nothing in 
which a young man of your talents should be more on his guard tnaa 
thinking for himself ; he will nearly always think wrong. And I 
believe that is one reason why young men of talent disappoint their 
friends, and remain so long out of office." 

A haughty flush passed over Randal's brow, and faded away 
quickly ; he bowed in silence. 

Egerton resumed, as if in explanation, and even in kindly apology — 

" Look at Lord L'Estrange himself. What young man could come 



YUilK-lIlCS IN ENGLISH Lli£. 301 

into life with brighter auspices ? Rank, wealth, high animal spirits 
(a great advantage those same spirits, Mr. Leslie), courage, self- 
possession, scholarship as brilliant perhaps as your own ; and now see 
how his life is wasted ! Why ? He always thought tit to think for 
himself. He could never be broken in to harness, and never will be. 
The State coach, Mr. Leslie, requires that all the horses should pull 
together." 

" With submission, sir," answered Randal, " I should think that 
'.here were other reasons why Lord L'Estrange, whatever be his 
talents — and of these you must be indeed an adequate judge — would 
never do anything in public life." 

"Ay, and what ?" said Egerton, quickly. 

" First," saicl Randal, shrewdly, " private life has done too much 
for him. What could public life give to one who needs nothing ? Born 
at the top of the social ladder, why should he put himself voluntarily 
at the last step, for the sake of climbing up again ?_ And secondly, 
Lord L'Estrange seems to me a man in whose organisation saxtiinent 
usurps too large a share for practical existence." 

" You have a keen eye," said Audley, with some admiration ; ''keen 
for one so young. Poor Harley ! " 

Mr. Egerton's last words were said to himself. He resumed, 
quickly— 

" There is something on my mind, my young friend. Let us be frank 
with each other. I placed before you fairly the advantages and dis- 
advantages of the choice I gave you. To take your degree with sucli 
honours as no doubt you would have won, to obtain your fellowship, 
to go to the bar, with those credentials in favour of your talents : — 
this was one career. To come at once into public life, to profit by 
my experience, avail yourself of my interest, to take the chances of 
of rise or fall with a party. — this was another. You chose the last. 
But, in so doing, there was a consideration which might weigh with 
you ; and on which, in stating your reasons for your option, you were 
silent." 

" What is that, sir ? " 

" You might have counted on my fortune^ should the chances of 
party fail you : — speak — and without shame, if so ; it would be natura. 
in a young man, who comes from the elder branch of the house whose 
heiress was my wife." 

" You wound me, Mr. Egerton," said Randal, turning away. 

Mr. Egerton's cold glance followed Randal's movement ; the face 
was hid from the glance, and the statesman's eye rested on the figure, 
which, is often as self-betraying as the countenance itself. Randal 
baffled Mr. Egerton's penetration — the young man's emotion might 
be honest pride, and pained and generous feeling; or it might be 
something else. Egerton continued, slowly — 

" Once for all, then, distinctly and emphatically, I say — never count 
upon that ; count upon all else that I can do for you, and forgive me, 
wnen I advise harshly or censure coldly ; ascribe tliis to my interest. 
31 your career. Moreover, before decision becomes irrevocable, I 
wish you to know practically all that is disagreeable or even humi- 
liating in the first subordinate steps of him who, without wealth or 



302 JIY NOVEL; OK, 

station, would rise in public life. I will not consider your choice 
sett led till the end of a year at least — your name will be kept on the 
college books till then ; if, on experience, you should prefer to return 
to Oxford, and pursue the slower but surer path to independence and 
distinction, you can. And now give me your hand, Mr. Leslie, in 
sign that you forgive my bluntness ; — it is time to dress." 

Pandal, with his face still averted, extended his hand. Mr. Egerton 
held it a moment, then dropping it, left the room. Randal turned as 
the door closed. And there was in his dark face a power of sinister 
passion, that justified all Harley's warnings. His lips moved, but 
not audibly ; then, as if struck by a sudden thought, he followed 
Egerton into the Hall. 

" Sir," said he, " I forgot to say, that on returning from Maida 
"Hill, I took shelter from the rain under a covered passage, and there 
I met, unexpectedly, with your nephew, Frank Hazeldean." 

"Ah!" said Egerton, indifferently, "a fine young man; in the 
Guards. It is a pity that my brother has such antiquated political 
notions ; he should put his son into Parliament, and under my 
guidance ; I could push him. Well, and what said Erank ? " 

" He invited me to call on him. I remember that you once rather 
cautioned me against too intimate an acquaintance with those who 
have not got their fortune to make." 

" Because (hey are idle, and idleness is contagious. Right — better 
not to be intimate with a young Guardsman." 

" Then you would not have me call on him, sir ? We were rather 
friends at Eton; and if 1 wholly reject his overtures, might he not 
think that you " 

" 1 ! " interrupted Egerton: "Ah. true ; my brother might think 
I bore him a grudge; absurd. Call then, and ask the young man 
here. Yet still, I do not advise intimacy." 

Eircrton turned into his dressing-room. " Sir," said Ins valet, who 
was in waiting, " Mr. Levy is here— he says, by appointment; and 
Air. Grinders is also just come from the country." 

" Tell Mr. Grinders to come in first," said Egerton, seating himself. 
" You need not wait ; I can dress without you. Tell Mr. Levy I will 
see liim in five minutes." 

Mr. Grinders was steward to Audley Egerton. 

Mr. Levy was a handsome man, who wore a camelia in his button- 
hole — drove, in his cabriolet, a high-stepping horse that had cost 
£200 ; was well known to young men of fashion, and considered by 
their fathers a very dangerous acquaintance. 



CHAPTER XII. 

As the company assembled in the drawing-rooms, Mr. Egerton in- 
troduced Randal Leslie to liis eminent friends in a way that greatly 
contrasted the distant and admonitory manner which he had ex- 
hibited to him in private. The presentation was made with that cor- 



VARIETIES IX ENGLISH LIFE. 303 

diality, and that gracious respect by which those who are in station 
command notice for those who have their station yet to win. 

" My dear Lord, let me introduce to you a kinsman of my late 
wife's [in a whisper] — the heir to the elder branch of her family. 
Stanmore, this is Mr. Leslie, of whom I spoke to you. I on, who 
were so distinguished at Oxford, will not like him the worse for the 
prizes he gained there. Duke, let me present to you Mr. Leslie. 
The duchess is angry with me for deserting her balls ; I shall hope to 
make my peace, by providing myself with -a younger and livelier sub- 
stitute. Ah, Mr. Howard, here is a young gentleman just fresh from 
Oxford, who will tell us all about the new sect springing up there. 
He has not wasted his time on billiards and horses." 

Leslie was received with all that charming courtesy which is the 
To Kalon of an aristocracy. 

After dinner, conversation settled on politics. Randal listened 
with attention, and in silence, till Egerton drew him gently out ; just 
enough, and no more — just enough to make his intelligence evident, 
without subjecting him to the charge of laying down the law. Egerton 
knew how to draw out young men — a difficult art. It was one reason 
why he was so peculiarly popular with the more rising members of 
hisparty. 

The party broke up early. 

" We are in time for Almack's," said Egerton, glancing at the 
clock, " and I have a voucher for you ; come." 

Randal followed his patron into the carriage. By the way, Egerton 
thus addressed him : — • 

" I shall introduce you to the principal leaders of society ; know 
them and study them : I do not advise you to attempt to do more — 
that is, to attempt to become the fashion. It is a very expensive 
ambition : some men it helps, most men it ruins. On the whole, you 
have better cards in your hands. Dance or not as it pleases you — 
don't flirt. If you flirt, people will inquire into your fortune — an in- 
quiry that will do you little good ; and flirting entangles a young 
man into marrying : that would never do. Here we are." 

In two minutes more they were in the great ball-room, and Randal's 
eyes were dazzled with the lights, the diamonds, the blaze of beauty. 
Audley presented him in quick succession to some dozen ladies, and 
then disappeared amidst the crowd. Randal was not at a loss : he 
was without shyness ; or if he had that disabling infirmity, he con- 
cealed it. He answered the languid questions put to him with a 
certain spirit that kept up talk, and left a favourable impression of 
his agreeable qualities. Rut the lady with whom he got on the best, 
was one who had no daughters out, a handsome and witty woman of 
the world— Lady Frederick Comers. 

" It is your first ball at Almack's then, Mr. Leslie ? " 

" My first." 

" And you have not secured a partner ? Shall I find you one P 
What do you think of that pretty girl in pink ? " 

" I see her — but I cannot think of her." 

" You are rather, perhaps, like a diplomatist La a new court, and 
your first object is to know who is who." 



301 MY NOVEL; OR, 

_ "} confess that on beginning to study the history of my own day. 
j. should like to distinguish the portraits that illustrate the memoir." 

" Give me your arm, then, and we will come into the next room. 
We shall see the different notabilites enter one by one, and observe 
without being observed. This is the least I can do for a friend of Mr. 
Egerton's." 

" Mr. Egerton, then," said Randal (as they threaded their way 
through the space without the rope that protected the dancers)—" Mr. 
JEgerton has had the good fortune to win your esteem, even for his 
friends, however obscure ? " 

" Why, to say the truth, I think no one whom Mr. Egerton calls 
his friend need long remain obscure, if he has the ambition to be 
otherwise ; for Mr. Egerton holds it a maxim never to forget a 
friend, nor a service." 

" Ah, indeed ! " said Randal, surprised. 

" And, 1 hcreforc," continued Lady Frederick, "as he passes through 
life, friends gather round him. He will rise even higher yet. Grati- 
tude, Mr. Leslie, is a very good policy." 

'' Hem ! " muttered Mr. Leslie. 

They had now trained the room where tea and bread-and-butter 
were the homely refreshments to the habitues of what at that day was 
the most exclusive assembly in London. They ensconced themselves 
in a corner by a window, and Lady Frederick performed her task of 
cicerone with lively ease, accompanying each notice of the various 
persons who passed panoramically before them with sketch and. 
anecdote, sometimes good-natured, generally satirical, always graphic 
and amusing. 

Ey-and-by, Frank Hazcldcan, having on his arm a young lady of 
naughty air and with high though delicate features, came to the tea- 
;able. 

"The last new Guardsman," said Lady Frederick; "very hand- 
sonic, and not yet quite spoiled. Eut he has got into a dangerous 
set." 

Randal. — The young lady with him is handsome enough to be 
dangerous. 

Lady Frederick (laughing). — No danger for him there,— as yet 
at least. Lady Alary (the Duke of Knaresborough's daughter) is 
only in her second year. The lirst year, nothing under an earl ; the 
second nothing under a baron. It will be full four years before she 
comes down to a commoner. Mr. Hazeldean's danger is of another 
xind. He lives much with men who are not exactly maitvais ton, but 
certainly not of the best taste. Yet he is very young ; he may extri- 
cate himself — leaving half his fortune behind him. What, he nods to 
you ! You know him ? 

" Very well ; he is nephew to Mr. Egerton." 

" Indeed ! I did not know that. Hazeldean is a new name in 
London. I heard his father was a plain country gentleman, of good 
fortune, but not that he was related to Mr. Egerton." 

"Half-brother." 

" Will Mr. Egerton pay the young gentleman's debts ? He has no 
»ons mmseif." 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 305 

Randal. — Mr. Egerton' s fortune comes from his wife, from my 
family — from a Leslie, not from a Hazeldean. 

Lady Frederick turned sharply, looked at Randal's countenance 
with more attention than she had yet vouchsafed to it, and tried to talk 
of the Leslies. Randal was very short there. 

An hour afterwards, Randal, who had not danced, was still in the 
refreshment-room, hut Lady Frederick had long quitted him. He was 
talking with some old Etonians who had recognised him, when there 
entered a lady of very remarkable appearance, and a murmur passed 
through the room as she appeared. 

She might be three or four and twenty. She was dressed in blrxfe 
velvet, which contrasted with the alabaster whiteness of her throat 
and the clear paleness of her complexion, while it set off the diamonds 
with which she was profusely covered. Her hair was of the deepest 
"et, and worn simply braided. Her eyes, too, were dark and brilliant, 
lier features regular and striking; but their expression, when in 
repose, was not prepossessing to such as love modesty and softness in 
the looks of woman. But when she spoke and smiled, there was so 
much spirit and vivacity in the countenance, so much fascination in 
the smile, that all which might before have marred the effect of her 
beauty strangely and suddenly disappeared. 

" "Who is that very handsome woman ? " asked Randal. 

" An Italian— a Marchesa something, 3 ' said one of the Etonians. 

" Di Negra," suggested another, who had been abroad : " she is a 
widow ; her husband was of the great Genoese family of Negra — a 
younger branch of it." 

Several men now gathered thickly around the fan- Italian. A few 
ladies of the highest rank spoke to her, but with a more distant 
courtesy than ladies of high rank usually show to foreigners of such 
quality as Madame di Negra. Ladies of a rank less elevated seemed 
rather shy of her ; — that might be from jealousy. As Randal gazed at 
the Marchesa with more admiration than any woman, perhaps, had 
before excited in him, he heard a voice near him say — 

" Oh, Madame di Negra is resolved to settle amongst us, and 
marry an Englishman." 

" If she can find one suffciently courageous," returned a female 
voice. 

" Well, she's trying hard for Egerton ; and he has courage enough 
for anything." 

The female voice replied, with a laugh, "Mr. Egerton knows the 
world too well, and has resisted too many temptations, to be " 

"Hush!— there he is." 

Egerton came into the room with his usual firm step and erect mien. 
Randal observed that a quick glance was exchaugedbetween him and 
the Marchesa : but the minister passed her by with a bow. 

Still Randal watched, and, ten minutes afterwards, Egerton and 
the Marchesa were seated apart in the very same convenient nook that 
Randal and Lady Frederick had occupied an hour or so before. 

"Is this the reason why Mr. Egerton so insultingly warns mo 
against counting on his fortune?" muttered Randal. ''Does he 
mean to marry again ? " 

vol. I. x 



Zifi MY NOVEL; OK 

Unjust suspicion ! — for, at that moment, these were the words feat 
Audley Egerton was dropping forth from his lips of bronze — 

" Nay, dear Madam, do not ascribe to my frank admiration more 
_allantry than it merits. Your conversation charms me, your beauty 
delight s me ; your society is as a holiday that I look forward to in the 
fatigues of my life. But I have done with love, and I shall never 
marry again." 

" "iou almost pique me into trying to -win, in order to reject you," 
said the Italian, with a llash jiu;h iier bright ey* 

"I defy even you," answered Audley, with his cold hard smile. 
" But to return to the point : "You have more influence, at least, over 
this subtle ambassador ; and the secret we speak of I rely on you to 
obtain me. Ah, Madam, let us rest frieuds. You see I have con- 
quered the unjust prejudices against you ; you are received zxAfetk 
everywhere, as becomes your birth and your attractions. _ Rely on me 
evcrj as I on you. But I shall excite too much envy if I stay here 
longer, and am vain enough to think that I may injure you if I pro- 
voke the gossip of the ill-natured. As the avowed friend, I can serve 
you— as the supposed lover, No — " Audley rose as he said this, and, 
standing by the chair, added carelessly, " Apropos, the sum you do 
me the honour to borrow will be paid to your bankers to-morrow." 

" A thousand thanks !— my brother will hasten to repay you." 

Audley bowed. " Your brother, I hope, will repay me in person, 
not before. When does he come ? " 

" Oh, he has again postponed his visit to London ; he is so much 
needed in Vienna. But while we are talking of him, allow me to ask 
if your friend, Lord L'Estrange, is indeed still so bitter against that 
poor brot her of mine ? " 

" Still the same." 

" It is slmmcfid ! " cried the Italian, with warmth; "what has my 
brother ever done to him that he should actually intrigue against the 
Count in his own court ? " 

" Intrigue ! I think you wrong Lord L'Estrange ; he but repre- 
sented what he believed to be the truth, in defence of a ruined exile. 

" And you will not tell me where that exile is, or if his daughter 
still lives ? " 

" My dear Marchcsa, I have called you friend, ther&'ore I will not 
aid L'Estrange to injure you or yours. But I call L'Estrange a 
friend also ; and I cannot violate the trust that—" Audley stopped 
short, and bit his lip. "You understand me," he resumed, with a 
more genial smile than usual ; and he took his leave. 

The Italian's brows met as her eye followed him ; theii, as she too 
rose, that eye encountered Randal's. 

" That young man has the eye of an Italian," said the fturchesa to 
herself, as she passed by him into the ball-room. 



V&BIETIES IX ENGLISH LIFE. 307 



CHAPTER Xm. 



Leonaed and Helen settled themselves in two little chambers in a 
small lane. The neighbourhood was dull enough — the accommodation 
humble : but their landlady had a smile. That was the reason, per- 
haps, wny Helen chose the lodgings : a smile is not always found on 
the face of a landlady when the lodger is poor. And out of their 
windows they caught sight of a green tree, an elm, that grew up fair 
and tall in a carpenter's yard at the rear. That tree was like another 
smile to the place. They saw the birds come and go to its shelter ; 
and they even lieard, when a breeze arose, the pleasant murmur of its 
boughs. 

Leonard went the same evening to Captain Digb/s old lodgings ; 
but he could learn there no intelligence of friends or protectors for 
Helen. The people were rude and surly, and said that the Captain 
still owed them £1. 17s. The claim, however, seemed very disputable, 
and was stoutly denied by Helen. The next morning Leonard set off 
in search of Dr. Morgan. He thought his best plan was to inquire 
the address of the Doctor at the nearest chemist's, and the chemist 
civilly looked into the Court Guide, and referred him to a house in 
Bulstrode-street, Manchester-square. To this street Leonard con- 
trived to find his way, much marvelling at the meanness of London : 
Screwstown seemed to him the handsomer town of the two. 

A shabby man-servant opened the door, and Leonard remarked tha!, 
the narrow passage was choked with boxes, trunks, and various arti- 
cles of furniture. He was shown into a small room containing a very 
large round table, whereon weie sundry works on homoeopathy, 
Parry's Cymbrian Plutarch, Davies' Celtic Researches, and a Sunday 
newspaper. An engraved portrait of the illustrious Hahnemann 
occupied the place of honour over the chimney-piece. In a few 
minutes the door to an inner room opened, and Dr. Morgan appeared, 
and said, politely, " Come in, sir." 

The Doctor seated himself at a desk, looked hastily at Leonard, 
and then at a great chronometer lying on the table. " My time's 
short, sir — going abroad : and now that I am going, patients flock to 
me. Too late. London will repent its apathy. Let it ! " 

The Doctor paused majestically, and not remarking on Leonard's 
face the consternation he had anticipated, he repeated, peevisldy — " I 
am going abroad, sir, but I will make a synopsis of your case, and 
leave it to my successor. Hum ! Hair chestnut ; eyes — what colour? 
Look this way — blue, dark blue. Hem! Constitution nervous. 
VVhat are the symptoms ? " 

" Sir," began Leonard, " a little girl " 

Dr. Morgan (impatiently). — Little girl! Never mind the history 
of your sufferings ; stick to the symptoms — stick to the symptoms. 

Leonard. — You mistake me, Doctor ; I have nothing the matter 
with me. A little girl 

Dr. Morgan. — Girl again! I understand! it is she who is ill 

T 9 



SOS MY NOVEL; OK, 

Shall 1 go to her? She must describe her own symptoms— [ c&a't 
judge from your talk. You'll be telling me she has consumption, or 
dyspepsia, or some such disease that don't exist : mere allopathic 
inventions — symptoms, sir, symptoms. 

Leonard (forcing his way).— You attended her poor father, Captain 
Digby, ■when he was taken ill in the coach with you. He is dead, 
and his child is an orphan. 

Dr. Morgan (fumbling in his niedicai pocket-book).— Orphan! 
nothing for orphans, especially if inconsolable, like aconite and cha- 
momilla* 

With some difficulty Leonard succeeded in bringing Helen to the 
recollection of the hoincepathist, stating how he came in charge of 
her, and why he sought Dr. Morgan. 

The Doctor was much moved. 

"But, really," said he, after a pause, "I don't see how I can help 
the poor child. I know nothing of her relations. This Lord Les— 
whatever his name is — I know of no lords in London. I knew lords, 
and physicked them too, when I was a blundering allopathist. There 
was the Earl of Lausmere — has had many a blue pill from me, sinner 
that I was. His son was wiser; never would take physic. Very 
clever boy was Lord L'Esf range " 

" Lord L' Estrange ! — that name begins with Les " 

" Stuff ! J le's always abroad— shows his sense. I'm going abroad 
too. No development for science in this horrid city— full of preju- 
dices, sir, and given up to the most barbarous allopathical and phle- 
botomicai propensities. I'm going to the land of Hahnemann, sir, 
— sold my good-will, lease, and furniture, and have bought in on the 
lihinc. Natural life, there, sir — homoeopathy needs nature : dine at 
one o'clock, gel up at four — tea little known, and science appreciated. 
But I forget . Cotf ! what can I do for the orphan ? " 

" "Well, sir," said Leonard, rising, "Heaven will give me strength 
to support her." 

The Doctor looked at the young man attentively. " And yet," said 
he, in a gentler voice, " you, young man, are, by your account, a 
perfect stranger to 'aer, or were so when you undertook to bring her 
to London. You have a good heart — always keep it. Very healthy 
thing, sir, a good heart — that is, when not carried to excess. But 
you nave friends of your own in town ? " 

Leonard. — Not yet, sir ; I hope to make them. 

Doctor. — Pless nie, you do ? — How ? — I can't make any. 

Leonard coloured and hung his head. He longed to say "Authors 
find friends in their readers — I am going -to be an author." But he 
felt that the reply would savour of presumption, and held his tongue. 

The Doctor continued tc examine him, and with friendly interest. 

"You say you walked up to London — was that from "choice or 
economy?" 

Leonard. — Both, sir. 

Doctor. — Sit down again, and let us talk. I can give you a 

* It may be necessary to observe, that homoeopathy professes to deal with our 
moral affections as well as with our physical maladies, and has a globule for every 



VAK1KT1ES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 309 

quarter ot an hour, and I'll see it 1 can help either of you, provided 
jrou tell me all the symptoms — 1 mean all the particulars. 

Then, with that peculiar adroitness which belongs to experience in 
the medical profession, Dr. Morgan, who was really an acute and able 
man, proceeded to put his questions, and soon extracted from Leonard 
the boy's history' and hopes. But when the Doctor, in admiration at 
a simplicity which contrasted so evident an intelligence, finally asked 
him his name and connections, and Leonard told them, the homceo- 
pathist actually started. "Leonard FrV:eld, grandson of my old 
friend, John Avenel, of Lansmere ! I m v-X shake you by the hand. 
Brought up by Mrs. Fairfield ! — Ah, now i look, strong family like- 
ness — very strong ! " 

The tears stood in the Doctor's eyes. "Poor Nora ! " said he. 

" Nora ! Did you know my aunt ? " 

" Your aunt ! All ! — ah ! — ah ; yes — yes ! Poor Nora ! — she died 
almost in these arms — so young, so beautiful. I remember it as if 
yesterday." 

The Doctor brushed his hand across his eyes, and swallowed a 
globule ; and, before the boy knew what he was about, had in his 
benevolence thrust another between Leonard's quivering lips. 

A knock was heard at the door. 

"Ha! thio's my great patient," cried the Doctor, recovering his 
self-possession — " must see him. A chronic case — excellent patient 
— tic, sir, tic. Puzzling and interesting. If I could take that tic 
with me, I should ask nothing more from Heaven. Call again on 
Monday ; I may have something to tell you then as to yourself._ The 
little girl can't stay with you — wrong and nonsensical. I will see 
after her. Leave me your address — write it here. I think I know 
a lady who will take charge of her. Good bye. Monday next, ten 
o'clock." 

With this, the Doctor thrust out Leonard, and ushered in his 
grand patient, whom he was very anxious to take with him to the 
oanks of the Rhine. 

Leonard had now only to discover the nobleman whose name had 
oeen so vaguely uttered by poor Captain Digby. He had again 
recourse to the Court Guide, and finding the address of two or three 
lords, the first syllable of whose titles seemed similar to that repeated 
to him, and all living pretty near to each other, in the regions of May- 
Pair, lie ascertained his way to that quarter, and, exercising Ids 
mother-wit, inquired at the neighbouring shops as to the personal 
appearance of these noblemen. Out of consideration for his rusticity 
lie got very civil and clear answers ; but none of the lords in question 
corresponded with the description given by Helen. _ One was old, 
another was exceedingly corpulent, a third was bed-ridden — none of 
them was known to keep a great dog. It is needless to say that the 
name of L'Estrange (no habitant of London), was not in the (hurt 
Guide; and Dr. Morgan's assertion that that person was always 
abroad, unluckily dismissed from Leonard's mind the name the homoeo- 
pathist had so casually mentioned. But Helen was not disappointed 
when her young protector returned, late in the day, and told her of 
his ill-success. Poor child ! she wis so pleased in her heart not to be 



310 MY NOVEL; OH, 

leparated from her new brother; and Leonard was touched to see 
jow she had contrived in his absence to give a certain comfort and 
rli"°rful grace to the bare room devoted to himself. She had 
anged his few books and papers so neatly, near the window in 
:_iit of the one green elm. She had coaxed the smiling landlady out 
of one or two extra articles of furniture, especially a walnut-tree 
bureau, and some odds and ends of ribbon — with which last she had 
looped up the curtains. Even the old rush-bottom chairs had a 
strange air of elegance, from the mode in which they were placed 
The fames had given sweet Helen the art that adorns a home, and 
brings out a smile from the dingiest corner of hut and attic. 

Leonard wondered and praised. He kissed his blushing ministrant 
gratefully, and they sate down in joy to their abstemious meal; when 
suddenly his face was overclouded — there shot through him the 
remembrance of Dr. Morgan's words — " The little girl can't stay 
with you — wrong and nonsensical. I think I know a lady who will 
take charge of her." 

" Ah," cried Leonard, sorrowfully, "how could I forget ?" And he 
told Helen what grieved him. Helen at first exclaimed, " that she 
would not go." Leonard, rejoiced, then began to talk as usual of his 
great prospects ; and, hastily finishing his meal, as if there were no 
time to lose, sate down at once to his papers. Then Helen contem- 
plated him sadly, us he bent over his delighted work. And when, 
lifting his radiant eyes from his manuscripts, he exclaimed, " No, no, 
you shall not go. This must succeed— and we shall live together 
;n some pretty cottage, where we can see more than one tree:" 
iroi Helen sighed, and did not answer this time, "No, I will 
not go." 

Shortly after, she stole from the room, and into her own : and there, 
kneeling down, she prayed, and her prayer was somewhat this : — 
"Guard me against my own selfish heart : may I never be a burden to 
him who has shielded me." 

Perhaps, as the Creator looks down on this world, whose wondrous 
beauty beams on us more and more in proportion as our science 
would take it from poetry into law,— perhaps He beholds nothing 80 
beautiful as the pure heart of a simple, loving child. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Leonard went out the next day with his precious manuscripts. 
He had read sufficient of modem literature to know the names of the 
principal London publishers ; and to these he took his way with a bold 
step, though a beating heart. 

That day he was out longer than the last ; and when he returned, 
and came into the little room, Helen uttered a cry, for she scarcely 
recognised him ; there was on his face so deep, so silent, and so con- 
centrated a despondency. He sate down listlessly, and did not kiss 



VARIETIES IS ENGLISH LIVE. 

her this time, as. she stole towards him. He felt so humbled. He 
was a king deposed. He take charge of another life ! He ! 

She coaxed Mm, at last, into communicating his day's chronicle 
The reader beforehand knows too well what it must be, to need 
detailed repetition. Most of the publishers had absolutely refused 
to look at his manuscripts; one or two had good-naturedlj glanced 
over and returned them at once, with a civil word or t\>o of flat 
rejection. One publisher alone — himself a man of letters, and who in 
youth had gone through the same bitter process of disillusion that 
now awaited the village genius — volunteered some kindly though stern 
explanation and counsel to the unhappy boy. This gentleman read a 
nortion of Leonard's principal poem with attention, and even with 
frank admiration. He could appreciate the rare promise that it 
manifested. He sympathised with the boy's history, and even witn 
his hopes ; and then he said, in bidding him farewell, — 

" If I publish this poem for you, speaking as a trader, I shall be a 
considerable loser. Did I publish all I admire, out of sympathy with 
the author, I should be a ruined m<>u. But suppose that, impressed 
as I really am with the evidence of no common poetic gifts in this 
manuscript, I publish it, not as a trader, but a lover of literature, I 
shall in reality, I fear, render you a great dis-service, and perhaps 
unfit your' whole life for the exertions on winch you must rely for 
independence." 

" How, sir ? " cried Leonard — " Not that I would ask you to injure 
yourself for me," he added, with proud tears in his eyes. 

" How, my young friend ? 1 will explain. There is enough talent 
in these verses to induce very flattering renews in some of the lite- 
rary journals. You will read these, find yourself proclaimed a poet, 
will cry, ' I am on the road to fame.' You will come to me, ' And my 
poem, how does it sell ? ' I shall point to some groaning shelf, and 
say, 'Not twenty copies! ' The journals may praise, but the public 
will not buy it. _ 'But you will have got a name,' you say. Yes, a 
name as a poet just sufficiently known to make every man in practical 
business disinclined to give fair trial to your talents m a single depart- 
ment of positive life : none like to employ poets, — a name that will 
not put a penny in your purse ; worse still, that will operate as a bar- 
rier against every escape into the ways whereby men get to fortune. 
But, having once tasted praise, you will continue to sigh for it : you 
will perhaps never again get a publisher to bring forth a poem, but 
you will hanker round the purlieus of the Muses, scribble for peri- 
odicals — fall at last into a bookseller's drudge. Profits will be so 
precarious and uncertain, that to avoid debt may be impossible ; then, 
you who now seem so ingenuous and so proud, will sink deeper still into 
the literary mendicant — begging, borrowing " 

" Never — never— never ! " cried Leonard, veiling his face with his 
hands. 

"Such would have been my career," continued the publisher; 
"but I, luckily, had a rich relative, a trader, whose calling I despised 
as a boy, who kindly forgave my folly, bound me as an apprentice, and 
here I am ; and now 1 can afford to write books, as well as sell them. 
Young man, you must have respectable relations — go by their 



II Y N'dvr.t.: OK. 



*dvr •• and counsel ; cling iVt to some positive calling. Be anything 
in ti!3 c:t\ rather than poet bv profession." 

"And f.j-v, sir, have there ever been poets? Had llunj ether 
callings '?" 

" J t« ad their hiographv. and then— envy them! 

Lfmiard was silent a moment ; but, lifting his head, answered loud 
and quicr.1... "I hate read their biography. Jrue, their lot was 
poverty— perhaps hunger. Sir, 1— envy them!" 

* ro'vrrtv and hunger are small evils," answered the bookseller, 
with a grave, kind smile ; " there are worse,— debt, and degradation, 
and- despair ' " , ,, , , c ,, 

'■No sir, no-\o'i exaggerate; these last are not the lot ot all 

1' '■^■" ' • t i 

" Right ; for n:^t of our greatest poets had some private means ot 
their own. And for othn-s- wliv, all who have put into a lottery 
have not dn.wn blanks. Hut who could advise another man to set 
lii-i whole hope of fortune on the chance of a prize in a lottery r Ana 
such aloite.-v!'' -mailed the publisher, glancing towards sheets ana 
ream-- of dead authors. Iving like lead upon his shelves. 

Leonard clutched his manuscripts to his heart, and humea 

'''Yes," lie muttered, as Helen clung to him, and tried .to console 

— "ves, m.ii were right : London is very vast, very strong, ana 
very "cruel;" and his head sank lower and lower yet upon nis 
riosoni. , ,, i 

The door iv;u flung widely open, and in, unannounced, waixea 
Dr. iM organ. ' 

Tlic child turned <o him, and at the sight of his face she remem- 
bered her father; and the tears that, for Leonard's sake, she liatt 
been tn in- to suppress, found wav. 

The good Doctor so. ,n gained all the confidence of these two young 
hearts. And alter listening to Leonard's story of his paradise lost in 
a day, he patted him .m the shoulder and said, " AVcll, you will call on 
nie on Mondav, and wc will sec Meanwhile, borrow these ot me; 

- and he tried to slip three sovereigns into the boy's hand. Leonard 
■"as indignant. The bookseller's warning flashed on him. Mendi- 
cancy ! oil no, he had not wl conic to that ! lie was almost rude 
and savage in Ins rejection ; and the Doctor did not like him the less 
ior it. 

" You are an obstinate mule," said the homceopathist, reluctantly 
putting up his sovereigns. ""Will you work at something practical 
and prosy, and let the poetry rest awhile ?" 

" Yes," said Leonard, doggedly " I will work." 

K Very well, then. I know an honest bookseller, and he shall give 
you some employment ; and meanwhile, at all events you will be 
among books, and that will be some comfort." ' 

Leonard's eyes brightened— " A great comfort, sir." He pressed 
the hand he had before put aside to his grateful heart. 

"Br* " resumed the Doctor, seriously, "you really feel a strong 
predisposition to make verses ?" 

"I did, sir." 



Vakieiies ix iixoLibir urn.. 313 

"Very bad symptom indeed, and must be stopped before a relapse . 
Here, I have cured three prophets and ten poets with this nove. 
specific." 

While thus speaking, he had got out his book and a globule. 
" Aqaricus muscurius dissolved in a tumbler of distilled water — tea- 
spoonfid whenever the fit comes on. Sir, it would have cured Milton 
himself. And now for you, my child," turning to Helen — " I have 
found a lady who will be very kind to you, — not a menial situation : she 
wants some one to read to her, and tend on her — she is old, and lias- 
no children. She wants a companion, and prefers a girl of your age to 
one older. Will this suit you ?" 

Leonard walked away. 

Helen got close to the Doctor's ear, and whispered, " No, I cannot 
leave him now — he is so sad." 

" Cott !" grunted the Doctor, "you two must have been reading. 
Paul and Virginia. If I could but stay in England, I would try 
what ignatia would do in this case — interesting experiment ! Listen 
to me — little girl ; and go out of the room, you, sir." 

Leonard, averting his face, obeyed. Helen made an involuntary 
step after him — the Doctor detained and drew her on his knee. 

"What's your Christian name 'i— I forget." 

"Helen.". 

" Helen, listen. In a year or two you will be a young woman, and- 
it would be very wrong then to live along with that young man. 
Meanwhile, you have no right to cripple all liis energies. He must 
not have you leaning on his right arm — you would weigh it clown. I 
am going away, and when I am gone there will be no one to help you, 
if you reject the friend I offer you. Do as I tell you, for a little girl. 
so peculiarly susceptible (a thorough Pulsatilla constitution) cannot 
be obstinate and egotistical." 

" Let me see him cared for and happy, sir," said she firmly, " and I 
will go where you wish." 

" He shall be so ; and to-morrow, while he is out, I will come and : 
fetch you. Nothing so painful as leave-taking — shakes the nervous 
system, and is a mere waste of the animal economy." 

Helen sobbed aloud ; then, writhing from the Doctor, she exclaimed. 
"But he may know where I am? We may see each other some- 
times ? Ah, sir, it was at my father's grave that we first met, and L 
think Heaven sent him to me. Do not part us for ever ! " 

"I should have a heart of stone it I did," cried the Doctor,, 
vehemently; "and Miss Starke shall let him come and visit you once 
a week — I'll give her something to make her. She is naturally 
indifferent to others : I will alter her whole constitution, and melt' 
her into sympathy — with rhododendron and arsenic.'" 



S14 MY NOVZL; OS. 



CHAPTER XV 

Before he went, the Doctor wrote a line to "Mr. Prickett, 
Bookseller, Holbom," and told Leonard to take it, the next morning, 
as addressed. "I will call on Prickett myeelf to-night, and prepare 
him l'or your visit ; but I hope and trust you will only have to stay 
tnere a few days." 

He then turned the conversation, to communicate his plans for 
Helen. Miss Starke lived at Highgate — a worthy woman, stiff and 
prim as old maids sometimes are • but just the pla^ for a little 
girl like Helen, and Leonard should certainly be allowed to call and 
see her. 

Leonard listened and made no opposition ; — now that his day- 
dream was dispelled, he had no right to pretend to be Helen's 
protector. He could have prayed her to share his wealth and his 
lame ; his penury and his drudgery — no. 

It was a very sorrowful evening — that between the adventurer and 
the child. They sate up late, till their candle had burned down 
to the socket ; neither did they talk much ; but his hand clasped hers 
all the time, and her head pillowed itself on his shoulder. 1 fear, 
when they parted it was not for sleep. 

And when Leonard went forth the next morning, Helen stood at 
the street-door watching him depart — slowly, slowly. No doubt, in 
that humble lane there were many sad hearts ; but no heart so heavy 
as that of the still quiet child, when the form she had watched was to 
be seen no more, and, still standing on the desolate threshold, she 
gazed into space — and all was vacant. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Me. Prickett was a believer in homoeopathy, and declared, to the 
indignation of all the apothecaries round Holborn, that he had been 
cured of a chrome rheumatism by Dr. Morgan. The good Doctor 
had, as he promised, seen Mr. Prickett when he left Leonard, and 
asked him as a favour to find some light occupation for the boy, that 
would serve as an excuse for a modest weekly salary. " It will not 
be for long," said the Doctor; "his relations are respectable and 
well off. I will write to his grandparents, and in a few days I hope 
to relieve you of the charge. Of course, if you don't want him, I will 
repay what he costs meanwhile." 

Mr. Prickett, thus^ prepared for Leonard, received him very gra- 
ciously, and, after a few questions, said Leonard was just the person 
he wanted to assist him in cataloguing his books, and offered him 
most handsomely £1 a week for the task. 

Piunged at once into a world of books vaster than he had ever 



VdBIETIES IN ENGLISH ilia. 316 

before won admission to, that old divine dream of knowledge, out of 
which poetry had sprung, returned to the village student at the very 
sight of the venerable volumes. The collection of Mr. Prickett was 
however, in reality, by no means large ; but it comprised not only the 
ordinary standard works, but several curious and rare ones. And 
Leonard paused in making the catalogue, and took many a hast} 
snatch of the contents of each tome, as it passed through his hands 
The bookseller, who was an enthusiast for old books, was pleased tc 
see a kindred feeling (which his shop-boy had never exhibited) ia 
his new assistant; and he talked about rare editions and scarce 
copies, and initiated Leonard into many of the mysteries of the bib- 
liographist. 

Notlung could be more dark and dingy than the shop. There was 
a booth outside, containing cheap books and old volumes, round 
which there was always an attentive group; within, a gas-lamp 
burned night and day. 

But time passed quickly to Leonard. He missed not the green 
fields, he forgot his disappointments, he ceased to remember even 
Helen. strange passion of knowledge ! notlung like thee for 
strength and devotion. 

Mr. Prickett was a bachelor, and asked Leonard to dine with him 
on a cold shoulder of mutton. During dinner, the shop-boy kept the 
shop, and Mr. Prickett was really pleasant, as well as loquacious. 
He took a liking to Leonard — and Leonard told 1dm his adventures 
with the publishers, at which Mr. Prickett rubbed his hands and 
laughed, as at a capital joke. " Oh, give up poetry, and stick to a 
shop," cried he ; " and, to cure you for ever of the mad whim to be 
author, I'll just lend you the Life and Works of Chatlerton. You may 
take it home with you and read before you go to bed. You'll come 
back quite a new man to-morrow." 

Not till night, when the shop was closed, did Leonard return to his 
lodging. And when he entered the room, he was struck to the soul 
by the silence, by the void : Helen was gone ! 

There was a rose-tree in its pot on the table at which he wrote, 
and by it a scrap of paper, on which was written — 

" Dear, dear Brother Leonard, God bless you. I will let you know 
when we can meel again. Take care of this rose, Brother, and don't 
forget poor 

" Helen." 

Over the word " forget " there was a big round blistered spot that 
nearly effaced the word. 

Leonard lent his face on his hands, and for the first time in his life 
he felt what solitude really is. He could not stay long in the room. 
He walked out again, and wandered objectless to and fro the streets. 
He passed that stiller and humbler neighbourhood, he mixed with the 
throng that swarmed in the more populous thoroughfares : hundreds 
and thousands passed him by, and still — still such solitude. 

He came back, lighted his candle, and resolutely drew forth the 
" Chatterton " which the bookseller had lent him. It was an old 



•*16 MY kovKL; OK, 

edition, in one thick volume. It had evidently belonged to some 
contemporary of the poet's — apparently an inhabitant of Bristol — 
some one who had gathered up many anecdotes respecting Chatter- 
ton's habits, and who appeared even to have seen him, nay, beer, ii 
nis company ; for the book was interleaved, and the leaves covered 
with notes and remarks, in a stiff clear hand — all evincing personal 
knowledge of the mournful immortal dead. At first, Leonard read 
with an effort ; then the strange and fierce spell of that dread life 
seized upon him — seized with pain, and gloom, and terror — this boy 
dying by his own hand, about the age Leonard had attained nimself. 
This wondrous boy, of a genius beyond all comparison — the greatest 
that ever yet was developed — and extinguished at the age of eighteen ! 
— self-taught — self-struggling — self -immolated. Nothing in literature 
like that life and that death ! 

With intense interest Leonard perused the tale of the brilliant 
imposture, which had been so harshly and so absurdly construed into 
the crime of a forgery, and which was (if not wholly innocent) so 
akin to the literary devices always in other cases viewed with in- 
dulgence, and exhibiting, in this, intellectual qualities in themselves 
so amazing — such patience, such forethought, such labour, such 
courage, such ingenuity — the qualities that, well directed, make men 
great, not only in books, but action. And, turning from the history 
of the imposture to lie poems themselves, the young reader bent 
before their beauty, literally awed and breathless. How this strange 
Bristol boy tamed and mastered his rude and motley materials into a 
music that comprehended every tune and key, from the simplest to 
1 he sublimest ! He turned back to the biography— he read on— he 
saw the proud, daring, mournful spirit, alone in the Great City like 
himself. He followed its dismal career, he saw it falling with bruised 
and soiled wings into the mire. He turned again to the later works, 
wrung forth as tasks for bread, — the satires without moral grandeur, 
the polities without honest faith. He shuddered and sickened as he 
read. True, even here his poet mind appreciated (what perhaps only 
poets can) the divine fire that burned fitfully through that meaner 
and more sordid fuel — he still traced in those crude, hasty, bitter 
oiferings to dire Necessity, the hand of the young giant who had 
built up the stately verse of Rowley. But, alas ! how different from 
that " mighty line." How all serenity and joy had fled from these 
later exercises of art degraded into journey-work. Then rapidly 
came on the catastrophe — the closed doors — the poison — the suicide 
—the manuscripts torn by the hands of despairing wrath, and strewed 
round the corpse upon "the funeral floors. Jt was terrible ! The 
spectre of the Titan boy (as described in the notes written on the 
margin), with his haughty brow, his cynic smile, his lustrous eyes, 
haunted all the night the baffled and solitary child of song. 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE, 317 



CHAPTER XVTL 

It will often happen that what ought to turn the human mind from 
some peculiar tendency produces the opposite effect. One would 
ihink that the perusal in the newspapers of some crime and capital 
punishment would warn away all who had ever meditated the crime, 
or dreaded the chance of detection; yet it is well known to us that 
many a_ criminal is made_ by pondering over the fate of some prede- 
cessor in guilt. There is a fascination in the Dark and Forbidden, 
which, strange to say, is only lost in fiction. No man is more inclined 
to murder his nephews, or stifle his wife, after reading Richard the 
Third, or Othello. It is the reality that is necessary to constitute 
the danger of contagion. Now, it was this reality in the fate, and 
life, and crowning suicide of Chatterton, that forced itself upon 
Leonard's thoughts, and sate there like a visible evil thing, gathering 
evil like cloud around it. There was much in the dead poet's 
character, his trials and his doom, that' stood out to Leonard like a 
bold and colossal shadow of himself and his fate. Alas ! the book- 
seller, in one respect, had said truly : Leonard came back to him the 
next day a new man ; and it seemed even to himself as if he had lost a 
good angel in losing Helen. " Oh that she had been by my side," 
thought he ; " Oh that I could have felt the touch of her confiding 
hand — that, looking up from the scathed and dreary ruin of this life, 
that had sublimely lifted itself from the plain, and sought to tower 
aloft from a deluge, her mild look had spoken to me of innocent, 
humble, unaspiring childhood ! All ! if indeed 1 were still necessary 
to her — still the sole guardian and protector — then could I say to 
myself, ' Thou must not despair and die ! thou hast her to live and 
to strive for.' But no, no ! Only this vast and terrible London — tlie 
solitude of the dreary garret, and those lustrous eyes glaring alike 
through the throng and through the solitude." 



CHAPTER XVIII 

On the following Monday, Dr. Morgan's _ shabby man-servant 
opened the door to a young man in whom he did not at first remem- 
ber a former visitor. A few days before, embrowned with healthful 
travel— serene light in his eye, simple trust in his careless lip — 
Leonard Fairfield had stood at that threshold. Now again he stood 
there, pale and haggard, with a cheek already hollowed into those 
deep anxious lines thai; speak of working thoughts and sleepless 
nights : and a settled sullen gloom resting heavily on his whole aspect. 

" I call by appointment," said the boy, testily, as the servant stood 
irresolute. The man gave way. " Master is just gone out to a patient: 



318 MY NOVEL; OR, 

please to wait, sir ;" and he showed him into the little parlour. In a 
few moments, two other patients were admitted. These were women. 
and they began talking very loud. They disturbed Leonard's unsocial 
thoughts. He saw that the door into the Doctor's receiving-room 
was half -open, and ignorant of the etiquette which holds such pene- 
tralia as sacred, he walked in to escape from the gossips. He threw 
himself into the Doctor's own well-worn chair, and muttered to him- 
self, "Why did he tell me to come ? What new can he think of for 
tie ? And if a favour, should I take it ? He has given me the means 
of bread by work : that is all I have a right to ask from him, from any 
man — all 1 should accept." 

While thus soliloquising, his eye fell on a letter lying open on the 
table. He started. He recognised the handwriting— the same as 
that of the letter which had enclosed £50 to his mother— the letter of 
his grandparents. He saw his own name : he saw something more — 
words that made his heart stand still, and his blood seem like ice in 
his veins. As he thus stood aghast, a hand was laid on the letter, 
and a voice, in an angry growl, muttered, " How dare you come into 
my room, and pe reading my letters ? Er — r — r ! " 

Leonard placed his own hand on the Doctor's firmly, and said, in 
a fierce tone, " This letter relates to me — belongs to me — crushes me. 
I have seen enough to know that. I demand to read all — learn all." 

The Doctor looked round, and seeing the door into the waiting, 
room still open, kicked it to with his toot, and then said, under hia 
breath, " AVnat have you read? Tell me the truth." 

" Two lines only : and I am called — I am called " Leonard's 

frame shook from head to foot, and the veins on his forehead swelled 
like cords. He could not complete the sentence. It seemed as if an 
ocean was rolling up through his brain, and roaring in his ears. The 
Doctor saw at a glance that there was physical danger in this state, 
and hastily and soothingly answered, — " Sit down, sit down — calm 
youself — you shall know all — read all — drink this water;" and he 
poured into a tumbler of the pure liquid a drop or two from a tiny 
phial. 

Leonard obeyed mechanically, for he was no longer able to stand. 
He closed his eyes, and for a minute or two life seemed to pass from 
him ; then he recovered, and saw the good Doctor's gaze fixed on 
him with great compassion. He silently stretched forth his hand 
towards the letter. "Wait a few moments," said the physician, 
judiciously, "and hear me, meanwhile. It is very unfortunate you 
should have seen a letter never meant for your eye, and containing 
allusions to a secret you were never to have known. But, if I tell 
you more, will you promise me, on your word of honour, that you will 
hold the confidence sacred from Mrs. Fairfield, the Avenels — from 
all ? I myself am pledged to conceal a secret, which I can only share 
with you on the same condition." 

" There is nothing," announced Leonard, indistinctly, and with a 
bitter smile on his lip — " nothing, it seems, that I should be proud to 
boast of. Yes, I promise — the letter, the letter ! " 

The Doctor placed it in Leonard's right hand, and quietly slipped 
to the wrist of the left his forefinger and thumb, as physicians are 



VARIETIES TN ENGLISH LIFE. 319 

said to do when a victim is stretched on the rack. " Pulse decreasing," 
he muttered : " wonderful thing, Aconite /" Meanwhile Leonard read 
as follows, faults in spelling and all : — 

"Dr. Morgan, 

" Sir, — I received your favur duly, and am glad to hear that the 
pore boy is safe and Well. But he has been behaving ill, and ungrate- 
ful to my good son Richard, who is a credit to the whole Famuly, 
and has made himself a Gentleman, and Was very kind and good to 
the boy, not knowing who and What he is — God forbid ! I don't want 
never to see him again — the boy. Pore John was ill and Restless for 
days afterwards. John is a pore cretur now, and has had paralyticks. 
And he Talked of nothing but Nora — the boy's eyes were so like his 
Mother's. I cannot, cannot see the Child of Shame. He can't cum 
here — for our Lord's sake, sir, don't ask it — he can't, so Respectable 
as we've always been ! — and such disgrace ! Base born — base born. 
Keep him where he is, bind him prentis, I'll pay anything for That, 
You says, sir, he's clever, and quick at learning ; so did Parson Dale, 
and wanted him to go to Collidge and make a Eigur — then all would 
cum out. It would be my death, sir ; I could not sleep in my grave, 
sir. Nora, that we were all so proud of. Sinful creturs that we are ! 
Nora's good name that we've saved now, gone, gone. And Richard, 
who is so grand, and who was so fond of pore, pore Nora ! He would 
not hold up his Head again. Don't let him make a Pigur in the 
world — let him be a tradesman, as we were afore him — any trade he 
takes to— and not cross us no more while he lives. Then I shall 
pray for him, and wish him happy. And have not we had enuff of 
bringing up children to be above their birth ? Nora, that I used to 
say was like the first lady o' the land— oh, but we were rightly 
punished ! So now, sir, I leave all to you, and will Pay all you want 
for the boy. And be sure that the secret's kept. Por we have never 
heard from the father, and, at leest, no one knows that Nora has a 
living son but I and my daughter Jane, and Parson Dale and you — 
and you Two are good Gentlemen — and Jane will keep her word, and 
I am old, and shall be in my grave Soon, but I hope it wont be 
while poor John needs me. What could he do without me ? And if 
that got wind, it would kill me straght, sir. Pore John is a helpless 
cretur, God bless him. So no more from your servant in all dooty, 

"M. Avenel." 

Leonard laid down this letter very calmly, and, except by a slight 
heaving at his breast, and a deathlike whiteness of his lips, the 
emotions he felt were undetected. And it is a proof how much exqui- 
site goodness there was in his heart, that the first words he spoke 
were, " Thank Heaven !" 

The Doctor did not expect that thanksgiving, and he was so 
startled that he exclaimed, " For what ?" 

" 1 have nothing to pity or excuse in the woman I knew and hot- 
oured as a mother. I am not her son — her " 

He stopped short. 

"No ; out don't be hard on your true mother — poor Nora !" 



£00 MY NOVEL; OK, 

Leonora staggered and then burst into a sudden pj^uxysm of 
tears. 

" Oh, my own mother ! — my dead mother ! Thou for whom I felt 
so mysterious a love — thou from whom I took this poet soui — 
pardon me, pardon me ! Hard on thee ! Would that thou wert 
living vet, that I might comfort thee ! What thou must have 
suffered!" 

These words were sobbed forth in broken gasps from the depth of 
his heart. Then he caught up the letter again, and his thoughts 
were changed as his eyes fell upon the writer's shame and fear, as it 
were, of his very existence. All his native haughtiness returned to 
him. His crest rose, his tears dried. " Tell her," he sail, with a 
stern, unfaltering voice — "tell Mrs. Avenel that she is obeyed — that I 
will never seek her roof, never cross her path, never disgrace her 
wealthy son. But tell her, also, that I will choose my own way in 
life — that I will not take from her a bribe for concealment. Tell her 
that I am nameless, and will yet make a name." 

A name ! Was this but an idle boast, or was it one of those flashes 
of conviction which are never belied, lighting up our future for one 
lurid instant, and then fading into darkness ? 

" 1 do not doubt it, my prave poy," said Dr. Morgan, growing 
exceedingly Welsh in his excitement; "and perhaps you may find a 
father, who : ' 

" Father — who is lie — what is he ? He lives, then ! But he has 
deserted me — he must have betrayed her ! I need him not. The law 
gives me no father." 

The last wc rds were said with a return of bitter anguish ; then, in a 
calmer tone, he resumed, " But I shoidd know who he is — as another 
one whose path I may not cross." 

Dr. Morgan looked embarrassed, and paused in deliberation. " Nay," 
said he, at length, "as you know so much, it is surely best that you 
shoidd know all." 

The Doctor then proceeded to detail with some circumlocution 
what we will here repeat from his account more succinctly. _ 

Nora Avenel, while yet very young, left her native village, or 
rather the house of Lady Lansmere, by whom she had been educated 
and brought up, in order to accept the place of companion to a lady in 
London. One evening she suddenly presented herself at her father's 
house, and at the sight of her mother's face she fell down insensible. 
She was carried to bed. Dr. Morgan (then the chief medical prac- 
titioner of the town) was sent for : that night Leonard came into 
the world, and his mother died. _ She never recovered her senses, 
never spoke intelligibly from the time she entered the house. "And 
never, therefore, named your father," said Dr. Morgan. " We knew 
not who he was." 

" And how," cried Leonard, fiercely — " how have they dared to 
slander this dead mother ? How knew they that I — was — was — was 
not the child of wedlock ?" 

" There was no wedding-ring on Nora's finger — never any rumour 
(if her marriage : her strange and sudden appearance at her father's 
tomse — her emotions on entrance, so unlike those natural to a wifa 



VARIETIES IX £NGL1SII LITE. 321 

returning to a parent's home; these are all the evidence against 
her. But Mrs. Avenel deemed them strong, and so did I. You 
have a right to think we judged too harshly— perhaps we did." 

" And no inquiries were ever made ? " said Leonard, mournfully, 
and after long silence — " no inquiries to learn who was the father of 
the motherless child ? " 

" Inquiries !— Mrs. Avenel would have died first. Your grand- 
mother's nature is very rigid. Had she come from princes, from Cact- 
wallader himself," said the Welshman, "she could not more have 
shrunk from the thought of dishonour. Even over her dead child, 
the child she had loved the best, she thought but how to save that 
child's name and memory from suspicion. There was luckily no ser- 
vant in the house, only Mark Fairfield and his wife (Nora's sister) : 
they had arrived the same day on a visit. 

" Mrs. Fairfield was nursing her own infant, two or three months 
old; she took charge of you ; Nora was buried, and the secret kept. 
None out of the family knew of it but myself and the curate of the 
town — Mr. Dale. The day after your birth, Mrs. Fairfield, to pre- 
vent discovery, moved to a village at some distance. There her child 
died ; and when she returned to Hazeldean, where her husband was 
settled, you passed as the son she had lost. Mark, I know, was 
as a father to you, for he had loved Nora : they had been children 
together." 

"And she came to London — London is strong and cruel," muttered 
Leonard. " She was friendless and deceived. I see all — I desire to 
know no more. This father, he must indeed have been like those 
whom I have read of in books. To love, to wrong her — that I can 
conceive ; but then to leave, to abandon ; no visit to her grave — no 
remorse — no search for his own child. Well, well ; Mrs. Avenel was 
right. Let us think of him no more." 

The man-servant knocked at the door, and then put in Iris head. 
" Sir, the ladies are getting very impatient, and say they'll go." 

" Sir," said Leonard, with a strange calm return to the things 
about him, " I ask your pardon for taking up your time so long. I go 
now. I will never mention to my fiioth — I mean to Mrs. Fairfield— 
what I have learned, nor to any one. I will work my way some- 
how. If Mr. Prickett will keep me, I will stay with him at present 



but I repeat, I cannot take Mrs. Avenel's money and be boi 



unci 



j 

apprentice. Sir, you have been good and patient with me — Heaven 
reward you." 

The Doctor was too moved to answer. He wrung Leonard's hand, 
and in another minute the door closed upon the nameless boy. He 
Hood alone in the streets of London ; and the sun flashed on liim, rei 
an/1 menacing, like the eye of a foe ! 



vas* j. 



582 MY XOVEL; OK, 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Lkoxjrd did not appear at the shop of Mr. Prickett that day. 
Needless it is to say where he wandered — what he suffered— what 
thought —what felt. All within was storm. Late at night he 
returned to his solitary lodging. On his table, neglected since the 
morning, was Helen's rose-tree. It looked parched and fading. His 
heart smote him : he watered the poor plant — perhaps with his tears. 
Meanwliile Dr. Morgan, after some debate with himself, whether 
or not to apprise Mrs. Avenel of Leonard's discovery and message, 
resolved to spare her an uneasiness and alarm that might be danger- 
ous to her health, and unnecessary in itself. He replied shortly, that 
she need not fear Leonard's coming to her house — that he was dis- 
inclined to bind himself an apprentice, but that he was provided for 
at present ; and in a few weeks, when Dr. Morgan heard more of him 
through the tradesman by whom he was employed, the Doctor would 
write to her from Germany. He then went to Mr. Prickett's — told 
the willing bookseller to keep the young man for the present — to be 
kind to him, watch over his habits and conduct, and to report to the 
Doctor in his new home, on the Rhine, what avocation he thought 
Leonard would be best suited for, and most inclined to adopt. The 
charitable Welshman divided with the bookseller the salary given to 
Leonard, and left a quarter of his moiety in advance. It is true that 
he knew lie should be repaid on applying to Mrs. Avenel; but being 
a man of independent spirit himself, he so sympathised with Leonard's 
present feelings, that he felt as if he should degrade the boy did he 
maintain him, even secretly, out of Mrs. Avenel's money — money 
intended not, to raise, but keep him down in life. At the worst, it 
was a sum the Doctor could afford, and he had brought the boy into 
the world. 

Having thus, as he thought, safely provided for his two young 
charges, Helen and Leonard, the Doctor then gave himself up to his 
final preparations for departure. He left a short note for Leonard 
with Mr. Prickett, containing some brief advice, some kind cheering; 
a postscript to the effect that he had not communicated to Mrs. 
Avenel the information Leonard had acquired, and that it were best 
to leave her in that ignorance ; and six small powders to be dissolved 
in water, and a tea-spoonful every fourth hour — " Sovereign against 
rage and sombre thoughts," wrote the Doctor. 

'By the evening of the next day Dr. Morgan, accompanied by his 
pet patient with the chronic tic, whom he had talked into exile, was 
on the steamboat on his way to Ostend. 

Leonard resumed his life at Mr. Prickett's : but the change in him 
did not escape the bookseller. All his ingenuous simplicity had 
deserted him. He was very distant and very taciturn ; he seemed to 
have grown much older. I shall not attempt to analyse metaphysi- 
cally this change. By the help of such words as Leonard may him- 
lelf occasionally let fall, the reader will dive into the boy's heart, and 



\ A KILTIES IS ENGlJSIi LIFE. 323 

see how there the change had worked, and is working still. The 
happy dreamy peasant-genius, gazing on Glory with inebriate, un- 
dazzled eves, is no more. It is a man, suddenly cut off from the old 
household holy ties — conscious of great powers, and confronted on all 
sides by barriers of iron — alone with hard Reality, and scornful Lon- 
don ; and if he catches a glimpse of the lost Helicon, he sees, where 
he saw the Muse, a pale melancholy spirit veiling its face in shame — 
the ghost of the mournful mother, whose child has no name, not even 
the humblest, among the family of men. 

On the second evening after Dr. Morgan's departure, as Leonard 
was just about to leave the shop, a customer stepped in with a book 
in his hand, which he had snatched from the shop-boy, who was re- 
moving the volumes for the night from the booth without. 

" Mr. Prickett, Mr. Prickett ! " said the customer, " I am ashamed 
of you. You presume to put upon this work, in two volumes, the 
sum of eight shillings." 

Mr. Prickett stepped forth from the Cimmerian gloom of some 
recess, and cried, " What ! Mr. Burley, is that you ? But for your 
voice, I should not have known you." 

" Man is like a book, Mr. Prickett ; the commonalty only look to 
bis binding. I am better bound, it is very true." 

Leonard glanced towards the speaker, who now stood under the 
gas-lamp, and thought he recognised his face. He looked again. 
Yes ; it was the perch-fisher whom he had met on the banks of the 
Brent, and who had warned him of the lost fish and the broken line. 

Mb. Burley (continuing). — But the "Art of Thinking!" — you 
charge eight shillings for the " Ait of Thinking." 

Me. Peickett. — Cheap enough, Mr. Burley. A very clean copy. 

Mb. Bubley. — Usurer ! I sold it to you for three shillings. It is 
more than 150 per cent, you propose to gain from my "Art of 
Thinking." 

Mb. Prickett (stuttering, and taken aback). — You sold it to ms ! 
Ah, now I remember. But it was more than three shillings I gave. 
You forget — two glasses of brandy-and-water. 

Me. Bukley. — Hospitality, sir, is not to be priced. If you sell 
your hospitality, you are not worthy to possess my " Art of Thinking." 
I resume it. There are three shillings, and a shilling more for in- 
terest. No ; on second thoughts, instead of that shilling, I will return 
your hospitality ; and the first time you come my way you shall have 
two glasses of brandy-and-water. 

Mr. Prickett did not look pleased, but he made no objection ; and 
Mr. Burley put the book into his pocket, and turned to examine the 
shelves. He bought an old jest-book, a stray volume of the " Comedies 
of Destouches" — paid for them — put them also into his pocket, and 
was sauntering out — when he perceived Leonard, who was now 
standing at the doorway. 

" Hem ! who is that ? " he asked, whispering Mr. Prickett. 

" A young assistant of mine, and very clever." 

Mr. Burley scanned Leonard from top to toe. 

" We have met before, sir. But you look as if you had returned 
to the Brent, and been fishing for my perch." 



32± MY A'OVEL; OK, 

" Possibly, sir," answered Leonard. "But my Hue is tough, and 
is not yet broken, though the fish drags it amongst the weeds, and 
buries itself in the mud." 

He lifted his hat, bowed slightly, and walked on. 

" He is clever," said Mr. Burley to the bookseller : " he under- 
stands allegory." 

Ma. Pkickett. — Poor youth ! He came to town with the idea of 
turning author : you know what that is, Mr. Burley. 

Me. Burley (with an air of superb dignity). — Bibliopole, res ! An 
author is a being between gods and men, who ought to be lodged in a 
palace, and entertained at the public charge upon Ortolans and Tokay. 
He should be kept lapped in down, and curtamed with silken awnings 
from the cares of life — have nothing to do but to write books upon tables 
of cedar, and fish for perch from a gilded galley. And that's what 
will come to pass when the ages lose their barbarism, and know their 
benefactors. Meanwhile, sir, I invite you to my rooms, and will 
regale you upon brandy-and-water as long as I can pay for it ; and 
when I cannot — you shall regale me." 

Mr. Prickett muttered, " A very bad bargain, indeed," as Mr. 
Burley, with his chin in the air, stepped into the street. 



CHAPTER XX. 

At first, Leonard had always returned home through the crowded 
thoroughfares — the contact of numbers had animated his spirits. But 
the last two days, since his discovery of his birth, he had taken his 
way down the comparatively unpeopled path of the New Boad. 

He had just gained that part of this outskirt in which the statuaries 
and tomb-makers exhibit their gloomy wares— furniture alike for 
gardens and for graves— and, pausing, contemplated a column, on 
which was placed an urn, half covered with a funeral mantle, when 
his shoulder was lightly tapped, and, turning quickly, he saw Mr. 
Burley standing behind 1dm. 

" Excuse me, sir, but you understand perch-fishing ; and since we 
find ourselves on the same road, I should like to be better acquainted 
with you. I hear you once wished to be an author. I am one." 

Leonard had never before, to his knowledge, seen an author, and a 
mournful smile passed his lips as he surveyed the perch-fisher. 

Mr. Burley was indeed very differently attired since the first inter- 
view by the brooklet. He looked much less like an author—- but more 
perhaps like a perch-fisher. He had a new white hat, stuck on one 
side of his head — a new green overcoat — new grey trousers, and new 
boots. La his hand was a whalebone stick, with a silver handle. 
Nothing could be more vagrant, devil-me-carish, and, to use a slang 
word, tigrish, than his whole air. Yet, vulgar as was his costume, he 
did not himself seem vulgar, but rather eccentric — lawless — something 
out of the pale of convention. His face looked more pale and more 
puffed than before, the tip of his nose redder ■ but the spark in hia 



VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE. 

eye was of livelier light, and there was self-enjoyment m tae corners 
of his sensual humorous lip. 

" You are an author, sir," repeated Leonard. " Wed. And what 
is your report of the calling ? Yonder column props an urn. The 
column is tall, and the urn is graceful. But it looks out of place by 
the roadside ; what say you ? " 

Mr. Burley. — It would look better in the churchyard. 

Leonard. — So I was thinking. And you are an author ! 

Mr. Burley. — Ah, I said you had a quick sense of allegory. And 
so you think an author looks better in a churchyard, when you see 
him but as a muffled urn under the moonshine, than standing beneath 
the gas-lamp in a white hat, and with a red tip to his nose. Abstract- 
ed! y, you are right. But, with your leave, the author would rather 
be where he is. Let us walk on. 

The two men felt an interest in each other, and they walked some- 
yards in silence. 

" To return to the urn," said Mr. Burley — " you think of fame and. 
churchyards. Natural enough, before illusion dies ; but I tliink of 
the moment, of existence — and I laugh at fame. Fame, sir— ^not 
worth a glass of cold without ! And as for a glass of warm, with 
sugar — and five shillings in one's pocket to spend as one pleases — 
what is there in "\ Westminster Abbey to compare with it ?" 

" Talk on, sir — I should like to hear you talk. Let me listen and 
hold my tongue." Leonard pulled his hat over his brows and gave 
up his moody, questioning, turbulent mind to his new acquaintance. 

And John Burley talked on. A dangerous and fascinating talk it 
was — the talk of a great intellect fallen. A serpent trailing its length 
on the ground, and showing bright, shifting, glorious hues as it 
grovelled. A serpent, yet without the serpent's guile. If John Bur- 
ley deceived and tempted, he meant it not — he crawled and glittered 
alike honestly. No dove could be more simple. 

Laughing at Fame, he yet dwelt with an eloquent enthusiasm on 
the joy of composition. " What do I care what men without are to 
say and think of the words that gush forth on my page ?" cried he. 
" If you think of the public, of urns, and 1 lurels, while you write, you 
are no genius ; you are not fit to be an Author. I write because it 
rejoices me — because it is my nature. Written, I care no more what 
becomes of it than the lark for the effect that the song has on the 
peasant it wakesto the plough. The poet, like the lark, sings ' from 
his watch-tower in the skies. 3 Is this true ?" 

" Yes, very true ! " 

" What can rob us of this joy ! The bookseller will not, buy . the 
public will not read. Let them sleep at the foot of the ladder of the 
angels — we climb it all the same. And then one settles down into 
such good-tempered Lucianic contempt for men. One wants so littk 
from them, when one knows what one's-self is worth, and what they 
are. They are just worth the coin one can extract from them, in 
order to live. Our life — that is worth so much to us. And then toeir 
joys, so vulgar to them, we can make them golden and kingly. Do 
you suppose Burns drinking at the alehouse, with his boors around 
him was drinking, like them, only beer and whiskey ? No, he was 



326 JiV NOVEL; OK, 

drinking nectar — he was imbibing his own ambrosial thoughts— snak- 
ing with the laughter of the gods. The coarse human liquid was just 
needed to unlock his spirit from the clay — take it from jerkin and 
corduroys, and wrap it in the ' singing robes ' that floated wide in the 
skies : the beer or the whiskey needed but for that and then it changed 
at once into the drink of Hebe. But come, you have not known this 
life — you have not seen it. Come, give me this night. I have moneys 
about me — I will fling them abroad as liberally as Alexander himself, 
when he left to his share but hope. Come !" 

"Whither?" 

" To my throne. On that throne last sat Edmund Kean — mighty 
mime. I am liis successor. We will see whether in truth these wild 
sons of genius, who are cited but ' to point a moral and adorn a tale,' 
were objects of compassion. Sober-suited cits to lament over a Savage 
and a Morland — a Porson and a Burns ! — " 

" Or a Chatterton," said Leonard, gloomily. 

" Chatterton was an impostor in all things ; he feigned excesses 
that he never knew. He a bacchanalian — a royster ! He ! — Tv o. We 
will talk of him. Come ! " 

Leonard went. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

The Room ! And ihe smoke-reck, and the gas-glare of it!— The 
■.vliitcwash of the walls, and the prints thereon of the actors in their 
mime-robes, and stage postures ; actors as far back as their own lost 
Augustan era, when the stage was a real living influence on the man- 
ners and the age! There was Belterton in wig and gown— as Cato, 
moralising on the soul's eternity, and halting between Plato and the 
dagger. There was Woodward as " The Fine Gentleman," with the 
inimitable rake-hell air in which the heroes of Wycherly and Congreve 
and Farquhar live aa-ain. There was jovial Quin as Falstaff, with 
round buckler and "'fair round belly." There was Colly Cibher in 
brocade— taking snuff as with " his Lord," the thumb and forefinger 
raised in air— and looking at you for applause. There was Macklin 
as Shylock, with knife in hand ; and Kemble in the solemn weeds of 
the Dane ; and Kean in the place of honour over the chimneypiece. 

When we are suddenly t aken from practical life, with its real work- 
day men, and presented to the portraits of those sole heroes of a 
world Phantastic and Phantasmal, in the garments wherein they did 
" strut and fret their hour upon the stage," verily there is something 
in the sight that moves an inner sense within ourselves — for all of us 
have an inner sense of some existence, apart from the one that wears 
away our days : an existence, that afar from St. James's and St. 
Giles's, the Law Courts and Exchange, goes its way in terror or mirth, 
in smiles or in tears, through a vague magic land of the poets. There, 
see those actors — they are the men who lived it — to whom our world 
was the false one, to 'whom the Imaginary was the Actual ! And did 
Shakspeare himself, in his life, ever hearken to such applause as 
thundered round the personators of Ins airy images ? Vague children 



VARIETIES 1J) ENGLISH LIFE. '6'27 

of the most transient of the arts, fleet shadows on running waters, 
though thrown down from the steadfast stars, were ye not happier 
than we who live in the Real ? How strange you must feel in the 
great circuit that ye now take through eternity ! No prompt-books, 
no lamps, no acting Congreve and Shakspeare there ! For wnat parts 
in the skies have your studies on the earth fitted you ? Your ultimate 
destinies are very puzzling. Hail to your effigies, and pass we on ! 

'There, too, on the whitewashed walls, were admitted the portraits of 
ruder rivals in the arena of fame — yet they, too, had known an applause 
warmer than his age gave to Shakspeare ; the Champions of the Ring 
— Cribb and Molyneux, and Dutch Sam. Interspersed with these 
was an old print of Newmarket in the early part of the last century, 
and sundry engravings from Hogarth. But poets, oh ! they were 
there too : poets who might be supposed to have been sufficiently 
good fellows to be at home with such companions. Shakspeare, of 
course, with his placid forehead ; Ben Jonson, with his heavy scowl ; 
Burns and Byron cheek by jowl. But the strangest of all these 
heterogeneous specimens of graphic art was a full-length print of 
William Pitt ! — William Pitt, the austere and imperious. What the 
deuce did he do there amongst prize-fighters, and actors, and poets ? 
It seemed an insult to his grand memory. Nevertheless there he 
was, very erect, and with a look of ineffable disgust in his upturned 
nostrils. The portraits on the sordid walls were very like the crambo 
in the minds of ordinary men — very like the motley pictures of the 
Famous hung up in your parlour, my Public ! Actors and prize- 
fighters, poets and statesmen, all without congruity and fitness, all 
whom you have been to see or to hear for a moment, and whose 
names have stared out in your newspapers, my Public ! 

And the company ? Indescribable ! Comedians, from small 
theatres, out of employ; pale, haggard-looking boys, probably the 
sons of worthy traders, trying their best to break their father's 
hearts ; here and there the marked features of a Jew. Now and 
then you might see the curious puzzled face of some greenhorn about 
town, or perhaps a Cantab ; and men of grave age, and grey-haired, 
were there, and amongst them a wondrous proportion of carbuncled 
faces and bottle noses. And when John Burley entered, there was a 
shout that_ made William Pitt shake in his frame. Such stamping 
and hallooing, and such hurrahs for " Burly John." And the gentle- 
man who had filled the great high leathern chair in his absence gave 
it up to Jolm Burley ; and Leonard, with his grave, observant eye, 
and lip half sad and half scornful, placed himself by the side of his 
introducer. There was a nameless expectant stir through the assem- 
bly, as there is in the pit of the opera when some great singer 
advances to the lamps, and begins, " Di tanti palpiti." Time flies. 
Look at the Dutch clock over the door. Half-an-hour. John Burley 
begins to warm. A yet quicker light begins to break from his eye ; 
his voice has a mellow luscious roll in it. 

" He will be grand to-night," whispered a thin man, who looked 
like a tailor, seated on the other side of Leonard. 

Time flies — an hour ! Look _ again at the Dutch clock. John 
Burley is grand, he is m his zenith, at his culminating point. What 



328 iiy novkl; ok, 

mapriiifLcciit drollery ! — what luxuriant humour ! How tlie llabelaia 
shakes in Ids easy chair ! Under the rush and the roar of this iun, 
(what word else shail describe it ?) the man's intellect is as clear as 
gold sand under a river. Such wit and such truth, and, at times, 
such a flood of quick eloquence. All now are listeners — silent, save in 
applause. And Leonard listened too. Not, as he would some nights 
ago, in innocent unquestioning delight. No ; his mind has passed 
through great sorrow, great passion, and it comes out unsettled, 
inquiring, eager, brooding over joy itself as over a problem. And 
the chink circulates, and faces change ; and there are gabbling and 
babbling ; and Burky's head sinks in his bosom, and he is silent. 
And up starts a wild, dissolute, bacchanalian glee for seven voices. 
And the smoke-reek grows denser and thicker, and the gas-light 
looks dizzy through the haze. And John Burley's eyes reel. 

Look again at the Dutch clock. Two hours have gone. John 
Burley has broken out again from his silence, his voice thick and 
husky, and his laugh cracked ; and he talks, ye Gods ! such rubbish 
and ribaldry ; and the listeners roar aloud, and think it finer than 
before. And Leonard, who had hitherto been measuring himself in 
his mind, against the giant, and saying inly, " He soars out of my 
reach," finds the giant shrink smaller and smaller, and saith to himself, 
" He is but of mai/s common standard after all ! " 

Look again at tae Dutch clock. Three hours have passed. Is 
John Burley now of mar's common standard ? Man himself seems 
to have vanished from the icene : his soul stolen from him, his form 
gone away with the fumes of the smoke, and the nauseous steam 
from that fiery bowl. And Leonard looked round, and saw but the 
swine of Circe — some on the floor, some staggering against the walls, 
some hugging each other on the tables, some fighting, some bawling, 
some weeping. The divine spark had fled from the human face ; the 
Beast is everywhere growing more and more out of the thing that 
had been Man. And John Burley, still unconquered, but clean 
lost to his senses, fancies himself a preacher, and drawls forth the 
most lugubrious sermon upon the brevity of life that mortal ever 
heard, accompanied with unctuous sobs ; and now and then, in the 
midst of balderdash, gleams out a gorgeous sentence, that Jeremy 
Taylor might have envied; drivelling away again into cadence below 
the rhetoric of a Muggletonian. And the waiters choked up the 
doorway, listening and laughing, and prepared to call cabs and 
coaches ; and suddenly some one turned oil' the gas-light, and all was 
dark as pitch — howls and laughter, as of the damned, ringing through 
the Pandemonium. Out from the black atmosphere stepped the boy- 
poet ; and the still stars rushed on his sight, as they looked over the 
grimy roof-tops. 



VAEIETIES IN EXGLISH „1FB. 329 



CHAPTER XX1L 



Well, Leonard, this is the first time thou hast shown that thou 
bast in thee the iron out of which true manhood is forgerl and shaped. 
Thou hast the potver to resist. Forth, unebriate, unpolluted, he came 
from the orgy, as yon star above him came from the cloud. 

He had a latch-key to his lodgings. He let himself in, and walked 
noiselessly up the creaking, wooden stair. It was dawn. He passed 
on to his window and threw it open. The green elm-tree from the 
carpenter's yard looked as fresh and fair as if rooted in solitudes, 
leagues away from the smoke of Babylon. 

" Nature, Nature ! " murmured Leonard, "I hear thy voice now. 
This stills — this strengthens. But the struggle is very dread. Here, 
despair of life — there, faith in life. Nature thinks of neither, and 
lives serenely on." 

By-and-by a bird slid softly from the heart of the tree, and dropped 
on the ground below out of sight. But Leonard heard its carol. It 
awoke its companions — wings began to glance in the air, and the 
clouds grew red towards the east. 

Leonard sighed and left the window. On the table, near Helen's 
rose-tree, which he bent over wistfully, lay a letter. He had not 
observed it before. It was in Helen's hand. He took it to the 
light, and read it by the pure, healthful gleams of morn ■. — 

" Oh, my dear brother Leonard, will this find you well, and (more 
happy I dare not say, but) less sad than when we parted ? I write 
kneeling, so that it seems to me as if I wrote and prayed at the same 
time. You may come and see me to-morrow evening, Leonard. Do 
come, do — we shall walk together in this pretty garden • and there is 
an arbour all covered with jessamine and honeysuckle, from which we 
can look down on London. I have looked from it so many times — so 
many — trying if I can guess the roofs in our poor little street, and 
fancying that I do see the dear elm-tree. 

" Miss Starke is very kind to me ; and I think after 1 have seen 
you, that I shall be happy here — that is if you are happy. 

" Your own grateful sister, 

" Ivy Lodge." " HELEN. 

" P.S. — Any one will direct you to our house ; it lies to the left 
near the top of the hill, a little way down a lane that is overhung on 
one side with chestnut trees and filacs. I shall be watching for you 
at the gate." 

Leonard's brow softened, he looked agam like his former self. Up 
from the dark sea at his heart smiled the meek face of a child, and 
the waves lay still as at the charm of a spirit. 



53 



NOVEL; Oil, 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



" And what is Mr. Burley, and what has he written ? " asked 
Leonard of Mr. Prickett, when he returned to the shop. 

Let us reply to that question in our own words, for we know more 
about Mr. Burley than Mr. Prickett does. 

John Burley was the only son of a poor clergyman, in a village near 
Ealing, who bad scraped, and saved, and pinched, to send his son to 
an excellent provincial school in a northern county, and thence to 
college. At the latter, during his first year, young Burley was 
remarked by the under-graduates for his thick shoes and coarse 
linen, and remarkable to the authorities for his assiduity and learning. 
The highest hopes were entertained of him by the tutor